mediaevalist: (Hatshepsut)
Good Cracked list on Iranian culture: 5 Ways Life in Iran Is Nothing Like You Think.

The bullet on the elaborate levels of politeness was especially hilarious to read. One of my instructors (whom we called "Professor Cyrus" because he was educated at Oxford, has a Received Pronunciation accent, and took a cerebral yet humourous approach to teaching us) related this by commenting that (to paraphrase), "If five Iranian men reach a door at the same time, it takes an hour for them to pass because they will spend all that time arguing over who goes first: 'After you, agha, I insist.' 'No, no, agha, after you, I insist.'"

The "party hard" culture certainly deserved its Number One slot, as it is historically well-documented. Iran has been invaded constantly over millenia, and each time the invaders typically ended up adopting Persian customs rather than forcing theirs on Iranians primarily because of this. Alexander the Great was perhaps the most well-known of these instances, even with the buring of the Throne of Jamsheed (Wikipedia is reliable here), which most suspect was 'wild partying got explosive'. (It's something they could definitely relate to, not to mention that culturally Persian tempers typically flare brightly and burn out quickly.) In fact, the only culture which imposed itself on them were the invading hordes of newly-Islamic Arabs, which is why Arabs remain the only ethnic/national group Iranians in general can be said to genuinely hate.

In fact, the only quibble I have is that the head covering is not called a hajib, but a chadoor, which literally means "tent". Iranian humour can be a little dry and punny.

The parkour surge is definitely new, possibly brought through their French connection. (Iranians also learned cinema from France back before the revolution, which lends to some well-made artsy Cannes-bait films and cheesy-yet-fun action flicks) Even I learned something on Iran today!

mediaevalist: (Whatte the swyve?)
It's that time of year, and with Hallowe'en/All Saints' Eve/Feis na Samhna around the corner, you know what that means. It's time for my

Hallowe'en/All Saints' Eve/Feis na Samhna rant!

As it's well-known, Hallowe'en/All Saints' Eve/Feis na Samhna is sort of like Christmas for fluffybunnies. And so this is my present to you, my dear New Age goofballs: you are not today's victim. Instead, I am going to rant about ridiculously overcautious parents. That's right, it's not even a history, culture, or language rant; just a lambast of childhood-killing ninnies.

From here:

Try to get your kids to trick-or-treat while it's still light out. If it's dark, make sure someone has a flashlight and pick well-lit streets.


This holiday (which is really a festival) was once the New Year's Day of the calendar of cultural peoples collectively called the Celts. The civilisations of these Celts were agricultural ones in ancient times (many of them still are today) and followed a way of measuring days that actually makes more sense than the way we do it now: the next day would effectively begin at sundown. Technically-speaking, Hallowe'en is the first day of November, beginning at sundown on what we think of as 31 October in our post-industrial calendar. Hence, the original name of Feis na Samhna, which translates into 'Feast of November'. (NB to fluffies: when you say 'Samhain', what you're really saying is '(the month of) November'.)

If you want to give your kids the chance to dress up in costumes, just take then to an anime convention. And you hardly need a special day for loading your rugrats up with sugar (and from strangers, no less). The darkness is even more a part of the festival than a vinyl Optimus Prime costume from Wal-Mart or a bag of Snickers. (I am especially disapproving of all your jack-o'-lanterns: not because pumpkins are a New World crop and not traditional, but because PUMPKINS ARE NOT FOR CARVING RIDICULOUS SHAPES INTO, THEY ARE FOR EATING. Stop wasting pumpkins on bad crafting attempts unless you are making something undeniably awesome like this.)

Do it right, or don't bother doing it at all.
mediaevalist: (Default)
As many people in the States probably already know, it's Saint Patrick's Day. It's also the second day of Holy Week (yesterday having been Palm Sunday). This happens once in a while, when a saint's feast day falls some time within Holy Week, and because of this the saint's feast day is not officially observed by the Church.

You didn't really expect this to be short, did you? )

June 2015



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