Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Nowrūz - سال نو مبارک (Happy New Year!!!)

Yesterday was the first day of spring, but to Iranians everywhere, it was Nowrūz, the Persian New Year.

In 2010 the UN's General Assembly recognized March 21 as the International Day of Nowruz. 

Since that is today, so I'm going to teach you a little about this festival celebrated the world over, including parts of Central Asia, Caucasus, South Asia, Northwestern China, the Crimea, by some groups in the Balkans, and of course in Iran, the US, and Canada.

According to Wikipedia:
Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday and having significance amongst the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians, the same time is celebrated in parts of the South Asian sub-continent as the new year. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals.
One of the ways that Nowruz is celebrated is to have a Haft Sin (or seven s's) traditional table in your home.  This table includes seven specific items starting with the letter 'S' or Sīn (س) in the Persian alphabet.  Items include:

  • sabzeh - wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish - symbolizing rebirth
  • samanu - a sweet pudding made from wheat germ - symbolizing affluence
  • senjed - the dried fruit of the oleaster tree - symbolizing love
  • sīr - garlic - symbolizing medicine
  • sīb - apples - symbolizing beauty and health
  • somaq - sumac berries - symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
  • serkeh - vinegar - symbolizing age and patience.

  • Another way that Nowruz is celebrated is to spring clean, or Khouneh Tekouni (literally means 'shaking the house' or 'complete cleaning of the house') a few days before.  And we did exactly that this last weekend, when we scrubbed our kitchen from top to bottom to get ready for some special visitors, yet another way to celebrate.

    So to all my Iranian friends,  سال نو مبارک, ('sale'noʊ moba'ræk) which is Happy New Year!
    Happy Nowrūz Pink Apples Greeting Card

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    2011 - 30 Day Crafty Ramadan Challenge Rroundup

    I started the 30 days of Ramadan Crafty challenge back in July 2011 to give my daughters a creative outlet for making some fun Islamic crafts.  I wasn't able to find any Islamic craft books at our local library or online, so we made up our own creations.  It was our hope to inspire others to celebrate the month of Ramadan with their own children.  We are looking forward to Ramadan 2012 to create more crafts!

    2011 - 30 days of Ramadan Crafty challenge roundup by A Crafty Arab

    Here are the crafts in alphabetical order:

    1.   Allah Monogram Button Art
    2.   Ball Toss Toy
    3.   Button TicTacToe
    4.   Candy Surprise Eid Card
    5.   Cardboard Tube Ramadan Card
    6.   Coin Felt Necklace
    7.   Couscous Heart Pin
    8.   Crescent Moon Magnet
    9.   Curled Star Eid Gift Tags
    10. Donkey and Cart
    11. Egyptian Water Bottle
    12. Eid Camel Gift Bag Tutorial
    13. Eid Coin Bag
    14. Eid Tea Light Lanterns
    15. Festive Sheep
    16. Glitterd Sea shell
    17. Henna Stencil Tshirt
    18. Iqra Bookmark
    19. Jordan almonds box
    20. Ketupat Card
    21. Making a Soos
    22. My Birthday Present to You
    23. Palm Tree Cookie Cutter Candle
    24. Paper Lanterns
    25. Ramadan Good Deeds Book
    26. Ramadan Word Search
    27. Star banner
    28. Syrian Pinwheel Flag
    29. Twisted box
    30. Zakāt box
    And for Eid, I created a puzzle:

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Puff Disc with Crescent Moon and Star

    Today was yet another gloomy and rainy day in Seattle and the kids were in need of a craft. 

    I had gotten this Syroform disc at the craft store for such emergencies like today. 

    With a little bit of tissue paper and glue, we had a fun and bright decoration to brighten up our wall!

    Styrofoam disc - ours was 12 inches across
    Tissue paper in blue, yellow, and white
    Crimping tool
    3 inch round paper punch
    Fishing wire

    First you'll need to crimp your tissue paper.  Honestly, you can skip this step, but we wanted our tissue paper to be puffy on the stryrofoam.  And let's face it, its fun to crimp things (except your sister's hair as was attempted).

    Next you'll need to punch out the circles with your punch.  This was a little bit tricky as the paper kept getting caught.  But it was okay since we had scissors handy to help with the edges.

    Take your fishing line and put it through your needle eye.  Next place the needle about 2/3 of the way up the disc.  Tie the end at the top.

    Draw out a crescent moon and star design with a marker.  We didn't use  template for this and just winged it.

    Starting with the yellow tissue since you only have a small space, put a dap of glue in the middle of your circle.  

    Next fold the tissue twice and place the tissue with the dap of glue onto the disc. It's okay if you go outside the lines since no one will see the marker lines later.

    Keep gluing and placing until you get the whole disc covered and then hang on your wall after the glue dries.

    Thursday, March 8, 2012

    Arabic "Remember" Post-It Covers

    I've been in a creative mood lately and came up with these cute holders for Post It notes. 

    I made two, one with a pink Islamic geometric design background and one with blue.  There is a little hand with a string on it and the word "تذكر" which is Arabic for "remember."  They are held closed with little round velcro enclosures.

    I'm not sure if I'm going to sell them in my shops, but it was fun creating them.  Maybe I'll give them out as a giveaway or as gifts to friends.

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