I Saw Santa Claus
Why, then, would this boutique suddenly feature this half-baked impressionist, whose Christmas cheer was clearly crumpled up and tossed out with the rest of the used wrapping paper? Why, when many other stores planted a brilliantly decorated Christmas tree (which Agha Havayi alluded to as originally belonging to Zoroastrians--I just learned that--and picked up by Europeans long ago) in their windows for the past 30+ days, did this men's boutique miss the boat?
Perhaps because this shop hasn't a clue what role Santa plays in the highly publicized spectical known as the holiday season. Santa, like the Christmas tree, was likely associated with the West, and by extension, the foreigner, which may imply consumerism, and finally, translate to humongous sales for said shop. I'm fairly certain commerce is the goal of these props. Overall, the Christian community in Iran is quite religious, and based on what I've witnessed, not big on the whole Christmas-goes-commercial ordeal.
It's interesting how younger, usually college-aged Iranians will exchange gifts with their significant others, in what one university student dismissed as a lame attempt to imitate traditions of the West.
Usually, I'm all about "When in Rome..," but since a bunch of my friends at school are quite religious Christians (many of them spend their leisure time cuddled up on the sofa reading the Bible), I did a little gift-exchange doo-dad, hence breaking away from my "...do as the Romans do," mentality. But since I couldn't find the appropriate seasonal giftwrap, I settled for a shiny, metallic red and silver cellophane that hinted at Christmas, but had scrawled across, "May God Bless Your Marriage." By the way, I want to extend these warm wishes to all of you, too.
Besides spotting Santa Claus (known in Farsi as Baba [Father] Noelle), another unusual occurrence took place. Throughout the day, I found myself trapped in the same conversation, but with different friends, at different times. Here's how it went:
Friend: So, what are you doing tonight?
Me: Uh...nothing. What are you doing?
On that note, Happy New Year.