Ferdowsi Day Celebrated in Iran

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Active ImageIranians across the country have celebrated the national day of the highly revered Iranian epic poet Ferdowsi on May 15.

Ferdowsi, one of the greatest Iranian poets, was born in 935 CE in a small village named Paj near Tous in Khorasan which is situated in today's Razavi Khorasan province in Iran.

Ferdowsi's magnum opus the Shahnameh, or 'The Book of Kings' is considered one of the masterpieces of Persian literature, and has had considerable influence on subsequent literary works.

The renowned poet is honored for his efforts to restore Iran's cultural traditions after the conquest of Iran in the seventh century.

He devoted over 35 years of his life to the creation of the Shahnameh, which recounts Iran's mythical and historic past.

The romance of Zal and Rudaba, the Seven Labors of Rostam, Rostam and Sohrab, Siavash and Sudaba, the romance of Bizhan and Manizheh and Rostam and Esfandyar are among the most popular Shahnameh stories.

On May 8, a bust of Ferdowsi was installed at the University of Oxford's Wadham College Library.
Ferdowsi was the first Iranian dramatist who combined music, story and drama in his Shahnameh, mentioned stage director Behruz Gharibpur at the Ferdowsi Congress.

The congress was held at the Academy of Arts in commemoration of Ferdowsi Day which is celebrated annually in Iran on May 15.

Since the acquaintance of Iranians with Western dramas, naqqali (an Iranian dramatic performance accompanied by traditional Iranian music) was forgotten in this country, he said.

“But this oblivion does not affect the melodious verse of Shahnameh since Ferdowsi has consciously transformed the prose stories into musical verse,” he mentioned.

Active ImageHe also talked about the similarities between Shahnameh’s heroes and world renowned dramatic heroes such as that between Shahnameh’s Fereydun and King Lear or Afrasiab and Macbeth.

He explained about his opera puppet show “Rustam and Sohrab” saying that the capabilities of Shahnameh’s heroes are more convincing with puppets than stage actors.

“What a pity that Ferdowsi’s commemoration is not celebrated in cities’ main squares where people can attend the festival,” Gharibpur mentioned during the Ferdowsi congress.

“I tried my best to establish our national theater, and Shahnameh is one of the best means for reaching this aim,” stage director Pari Saberi mentioned at the ceremony.

Ferdowsi is the founder of Iranian drama and his “The Seven Adventures of Rustam” is similar to the world’s most powerful dramas, she added.

“The tragedy of Sohrab makes me sadder than any other tragedies including those written by Racine, Shakespeare and Sophocles, and it is our duty to transform this potential into drama,” she added.

Saberi who has previously directed several plays about Iranian luminaries, including Rumi, Hafez and Sadi, will stage “The Seven Adventures of Rustam” at the Vahdat Hall starting June 17.

Source: Press TV & Tehran Times

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