Sorkhi-e to az man, Zardi-e man az to
The snow has finally melted. The air is actually warm again, and wearing a tshirt out without 3inches of down between you and the elements is no longer a risky idea. I'm working rather late at my desk, and as 8:30pm rolls by, I hear banging outside in the city streets below. A few more explosions and I hop over to the window:
There are fireworks in Mel Lastman Square
I do a quick check through my brain's limited list of special calendar dates and find nothing. Regardless, the boom-booms stop and I get back to work: only a few more lines before this ini class is finished.
I clear up my desk, make room for the cleaning lady to vacuum beneath me and saunter out the front door of my building at about 9pm to bask in the cool/warm weather the city has granted me... and then, I hear music.
The streets of North York are strangely busy at this time of night. Busier, I might say, than they were at lunch time earlier today. There's music down near the square and people are jay-walking all over the place. Traffic is at a standstill and for a moment, Yonge in North York looks like Bloor in the Annex. I follow the crowd and the music to a giant mob filling up the square and start looking around for a clue as to the occasion.
People are dancing, socialising, and making out, and nowhere is there a banner or a sign to help an ignorant guy out. The crowd is largely multi-racial, ranging in ages 3 to 93, and so I ask a complete stranger: "So what's the deal here?"
The guy explains that today is the Iranian New Year's eve. As Iran works on the Lunar calendar, this is the last Wednesday before the Spring Solstice -- the start of the year in Iran. He apologises for not having more detail; his memory is foggy having moved to Canada over 30years ago and he doesn't have all the information on hand. I smile and thank him for the info, linger for a little bit but head back so I can be home on time to meet Melanie on time. But as I walk up the steps away from the square, I turn and see something that makes me smile: there, surrounded by thousands of dancing Iranian expats, is a steel big menorah, erected when the square was built years ago.
This is why I love Toronto.