Spellman - Chapter 06
By tapping into the diversity and complexity of Iranian lives in London
this study has demonstrated that finding a distinct Iranian place in
London, and adaptation to British society, are both processes at work.
The social dynamics I encountered at a big open party for Châhârshanbeh Souri
(a celebration that marks the beginning of the Iranian New Year
celebrations), can serve as a microcosm to illustrate some of the
continuities and transformations of Iranian identity and practices that
have been explored throughout this book. Unlike noruz parties
in the past, where political and religio-ethnic boundaries were tightly
drawn, I came across Iranians from a variety of backgrounds and
orientations. During the evening I spoke to women who attend Ms.
Parvizi's sofrehs, non-religious Iranians, members of the
Shahmaghsoudi Sufi Order, Baha'is, Zoroastrians and Armenians. While
some women wore headscarves, others wore revealing dresses. A few
people were drinking alcohol, while others were not. The hired band,
which included a musician who plays at the Iranian Christian
Fellowship, performed popular Iranian music. While many danced
throughout the evening, others, such as the women who wore scarves,
took pleasure in watching.