The Persian Wedding

From ancient Persia to present day Iran, the celebration of the uniting of man
and woman is described in this unique book. The visually captivating tradition
is carefully presented as a work of art, with ten paintings by internationally renowned artist Nasser Ovissi as well as many pages of photos of the ceremonial wedding setting and its details and symbolism. This beautiful bilingual book is written in its entirety in English and Farsi.

The author, Bijan Moridani, has researched the available information of the past as well as Iran of today. He presents the antiquity and the persistence of the tradition despite a tumultous history, and finally as he writes in his introduction, “in the end it’s love, love and love…”

Here’s a preview of some of the traditions that are fully explained and defined in this wonderful book!

Khastegari (asking for her)
– On a predetermined date, the young man and his family dress up and go to the young woman’s family’s house. They are greeted warmly… The girl enters the room carrying a tray of teacups and offers it to the guests. This is not an easy task. She is nervous and her hands are probably shaking..

Namzad-bazi (engagement flirtations)
– There is no married person who does not remember the exciting, wonderful memories of the period of time in which they are engaged. In a culture where any contact between a man and a woman is strictly limited, even after namzadi (engagement), this episode, which lasts from the night of the engagement to the actual wedding, is treasured. It usually starts with brief visits, most often in the presence of family members, an exchange of loving looks and occasionally, if they are brave and an opportunity presents itself, stealing a kiss, which is always associated with the feeling of anxiety and excitement…

Shirbaha (the value of milk)
– The literal translation is the value of milk given to the bride as a little baby. It symbolizes the hard work and endless effort spent in preparing a little girl for a grown up life. In many English language writings by non-Persian writers or even Persian ones, I have seen this tradition mistaken with “buying the bride” which shows the culturally limited understanding indicated in these writings…

Jaheeziyeh (preparing for an independent life – the dowry)
– Traditionally, the bride’s family prepares almost everything that the couple will need to start their independent life. Jaheeziyeh may include Persian carpets, a refrigerator, furniture, etc. It also indicated the economic capability of the bride’s family…

Stay tuned for more sneak peeks in next month’s issue about the Sofreh-ye Aghd, which is the traditional ceremonial setting.

STOP-GAP

On May 5th, 2005, the Disneyland in California as well as all other ten Disney theme parks from all around the world began to celebrate the “Happiest Homecoming on Earth.” The “Happiest Homecoming on Earth” is Disney’s first truly global celebration and is centered on the 50th anniversary of Disney’s very first theme park – Disneyland. This celebration is the largest in Disney history, and will operate for an epic eighteen months before it comes to a complete end. Since Disneyland’s grand opening in 1955, more than 500 million people have visited the Magic Kingdom. Disneyland’s homecoming event features an adorned version of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, a new parade and fireworks spectacular, a new ride in Tomorrow Land, and the long awaited reopening of Space Mountain.

The heart of the 50th Anniversary Homecoming event is the renovation of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The landmark castle, an international symbol of Disney magic, has undergone changes to literally transform itself into the “Crown Jewel” of Disney and Disneyland. Disney Imagineers gowned the castle in richly colored royal banners and decorated the Sleeping Beauty’s Castle with large, sparkling, custom made jewel-like sapphires, diamonds, rubies all trimmed in gold. To top things off, the five most prominent spires of the castle will each be adorned with golden bejeweled tiaras – all 5 tiaras represent iconography of each particular decade of Disneyland history.

The creation of Disneyland is represented by a symbolic pair of famous Mickey “Ears” peeking up over the horizon to see the wonders to come. One crown commemorates the creation of Tomorrowland in 1965, and another honors Disneyland’s beloved Main Street Electrical Parade. One tiara represents the Indiana Jones Adventure and wields the famous “Eye of Mara” guarded by snakes while the last and final tiara celebrates the 50th anniversary of Disneyland represented by fireworks and the one and only Tinker Bell herself.

“Walt Disney’s Parade of Dreams,” the all new nostalgic musical parade was created specifically by Disney Imagineers for Disney’s 50th anniversary event features one of the largest casts of Disney characters and performers ever assembled. The innovative new daytime parade highlights classic Disney stories
and characters that have contributed to the establishment of Disneyland over the past five decades. Imagineers combined our favorite Disney moments and beloved characters with gorgeous floats, classic songs, and energetic performers to bring the Disney inner child out of all of us. The parade features seven floats featuring: Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, the Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, the Lion King, and a float specifically designed for Disney Princesses and their Princes.

Continuing with the 50th anniversary’s nostalgic tone in celebration well into
the night, Disney technicians, artists, and Imagineers developed an all new nighttime fireworks extravaganza, entitled “Remember… Dreams Come True.” Using the nighttime skies over Disneyland as its canvas, the fireworks spectacular emphasizes the power of wishes and dreams. During the show, Tinker Bell surprises the audience with a truly unprecedented flight sprinkling pixie dust above Sleeping Beauty’s Castle – a scene reminiscent of the opening sequence for The Wonderful World of Disney. “Remember… Dreams Come True,” wonderfully incorporates new state-of-the-art pyrotechnics technology, custom pyrotechnics, over 25 Disney movie tunes, and over 80 pieces of Disneyland attraction music, sound effects, and familiar vocal sound bites for
a breathtaking show.

The new ride unveiled for the 50th Anniversary is Tomorrow Land’s new “Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters.” Inspired by Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 2, “Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters,” is the first theme park attraction in the world to feature a real-time interactive on-line opponent using webcam technology. This new technology allows guests on the attraction and player’s online at home to play together increasing the score of riders on the attraction by raising the value of the targets along the way.

Also in Tomorrow Land, the long waited return of Space Mountain happens July 15, leading to Disney’s actual 50th anniversary on July 17. The Space Mountain attraction sports brand new special effects, new rocket vehicles, a new custom composed soundtrack, as well as a new finale featuring a longer re-entry tunnel filled with amazing lighting effects.

As a Southern California resident, you have to travel down to Disneyland to take part in its 50th anniversary event. Disneyland’s not called the Happiest Place on Earth for nothing! So what are you waiting for? Let go and let loose for a day – skip your classes or just call in sick for work. Go have some fun at Disneyland!

UCR Fundraising Event

Sergeant Jennifer Shawhan
I joined the Army when I was 20 years old. I am a paratrooper and a Motor Transport operator. I worked with the Special Forces Training Group in Ft. Bragg, NC for 4 years on active duty. I then joined the Army Reserves and was stationed in Camp Pendleton, CA for 3 years. I was deployed to Iraq for 15 months as a S.A.W. gunner on the gun truck providing security for convoys. I have been in the Army for 8 years and I majored in Graphic Design. I was born in Wisconsin, my parents were Missionaries and we traveled a lot. I grew up helping others.

Specialist Zohra Azizi from Afghanistan
I am the first in my family to join the United States Military born in Afghanistan. I moved to Iran for 2 years, lived in Pakistan for 3 years and now am living in San Diego. I joined the Army on April 2001. I went to Iraq on Jan 2003 until April 2004. I am married and have one daughter. Everybody in my family lives in the U.S. I really loved my experience in the Army. I hope more women would join the armed forces. I speak Dari & English.

Sergeant Tafiq Rashid
I joined the Army 4 years ago. I have been trained in Transportation & military police. After 9/11, I volunteered 10 months of active duty services and I was shortly activated for Operation: Iraq Freedom. I served in Karballa & Najaf in Iraq. I speak Arabic & English. I am the oldest of five children in my family and we all grew up here in Northern California.

Sergeant David Moezzi
My name is David Moezzi. I was born in San Francisco, CA. My father is from Tehran, Iran, and my mother is from Russia. I have been in the military for 13 years in the U.S. Marine Corp Infantry and 3 years in the Marines. I served in the Army National Guard and as a Military Police Officer. I went to college using tuition assistance and the army’s G.I. Bill. I graduated from the University of Las Vegas with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. I then worked as a correctional officer in Las Vegas, NV. After 9/11, I felt the need to serve in the military to assist in the global war on terror. I speak Farsi, Portuguese, Russian and now studying Arabic.

Dining Out Hatam A Family Restaurant in Mission Viejo

“”Where is a good place to go for authentic Persian food?”” How many times have your non-Persian friends asked you that question? Well, a few weeks ago we decided to go and check out a local Persian restaurant in the neighborhood called Hatam. It’s a cozy little place with a friendly environment and great hospitality. “”We serve fresh, homemade food all day every day,”” said owner Babak Kashkouli. Their specialties include, of course, kabob with the famous basmati rice on the side, as well as stews like Ghorme Sabzi, Gheime Bademjan, Abgousht, Fesenjan, Karafs, Koofteh, Tahchin, Bamieh and Kotlet; Ash and specialties like Soltani, Barg, Baghalipolo with Mahiche and more!

” “We use the freshest ingredients on a day to day basis,”” Babak explained. “”My sister Afsaneh Kashkouli manages the restaurant together with our serving manager Ali Shafiee.””

Aside from dining in, Hatam is best known for their catering and to-go services. Even while we were there they received two catering orders! So if you don’t have time to come in for a sit down meal, you can always order to-go!

“Anytime you want to come in during our business hours, we promise you the best quality service and food. We’ll treat you like a member of the royal family! And for OCPC readers, we offer an appetizer or a side dish with any entree!”” said Babak.

Interview with Catherine M. Zadeh

“Born in Iran, schooled in Paris and finding a place in New York, inspired by all her past lives, the historical buildings and places, ancient art and multicultural influences that shape a life, Catherine Zadeh creates pieces that are impressions reincarnated as sculptural shapes in silver and 18kt gold.”Her designs have been featured in magazines such as Maxim, Forum and Town & Country and are currently at the prestigious Bergdorf Goodman in New York and most locally at Gary’s
in Newport Beach. With her uniquely inspired designs for men, including cufflinks and belt buckles, and her new women’s collection, Catherine Zadeh is truly one of the designers of the moment!

Please tell us a little about your background and experience in design.

I was never formally trained as a jewelry designer. Growing up in Paris, I
was always attracted to art, fashion and beautiful objects. I used to spend my free time holed up in a chambre de bonne dabbling with oil colors on canvases, or hand painting on silk, making pillows and scarves that I would sell to my friends and neighbors.

Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?

Even though I graduated with a degree in business management, I always wanted
to be a designer, no matter the industry. One can express one’s feelings, emotion and sense of style through many venues. Mine happened to be through designing jewelry.

I am in this field today because my husband who was incidentally in the diamond industry at the time encouraged me to design my own pieces that he could manufacture. I think that if he were in the fashion industry, I would have become a fashion designer; if he were an architect I would have been an interior designer, and so on.

Tell us about the starting point of your career.

10 years ago, a male friend saw 3 self made stackable rings with diamonds that I was wearing and commissioned me to create a necklace for his wife. This was the starting point of my “career”. After 3 other commissions, he suggested that I design some cuff links for him. He loved the designs so much that he encouraged me to put together a line to sell to stores.

It was beginner’s luck when I landed my first appointment with the prestigious Bergdorf Goodman Men. They picked up my line and I have been there ever since. Today several other high-end menswear and jewelry stores carry the men’s collection.

What challenges, if any, did you face in the beginning?

I was not really challenged at the beginning of my career, for Bergdorf Goodman set the tone and others followed. There weren’t that many men jewelry designers per se and my designs stood out. I think my real challenge was having to juggle between being a mom to my three young daughters and having a career.
I wanted to grow at a reasonable pace as to never jeopardize the well being of my family. Today is a different story: My daughters are older, and I have
since decided to give women’s jewelry a go.

Tell us a little about your new women’s jewelry collection.

I created a line of jewelry in 18kt green gold, with an organic aura to it. The metal is encrusted with small and delicate diamonds, giving the piece understated brilliance without being too overwhelming. I have also created a new collection of bold belt buckles in sterling silver with candy-colored straps to be worn casually, with a ripped pair of jeans for instance.

What inspires your designs?

The “Bubble” collection was inspired by a day at the beach in the Hamptons, as I intently observed the foam created by the water on the sand. Circles of different sizes and shapes seemed to connect in my mind creating striking earrings and necklaces. Every thing inspires me: architecture, nature, color, texture, people, a particular state of mind, an event, a smile.

What is your advice to young aspiring designers?

Being a designer is easy; being successful is a different story. If I had to do it all over again, I would get an MBA, to understand how to market a collection and how to run a business. You can’t learn to be creative. You either have it or not! Learning about the manufacturing end of it is also crucial. I think understanding how a piece is made is vital to the appreciation of the final product. Then I would intern or work within the industry to learn more and acquire some more experience.

Aside from these minor technicalities, it is all up to you, your creativity, your passion, and your persistence. Never take rejection personally. Respect and believe in yourself. I also think it’s important to be patient. I have been working at this business for over ten years now, and it is still not at the level I have dreamed of. Nevertheless, I remain confident that, in time, my collection will be embraced for what it is and I will one day feel fulfilled for all the time and effort I have invested in my job. Some luck wouldn’t hurt either!