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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Iran, Season 1, Lesson 15 - Cooking Haleem Ceremony
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Iran Series at PersianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Iranian holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 15, Cooking Haleem Ceremony. In Persian, it’s called maraasem-e halim pazaan.
Have you ever heard of the Cooking Haleem Ceremony? During this event, members of a village or neighborhood gather together to cook a dish called haleem. The ceremony does not have a set date, and so is observed on different dates at different stages.
In this lesson, you will learn how haleem is cooked, and will learn how this ceremony is observed in different parts of Iran for different reasons.
But before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
When and how is haleem usually eaten?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Haleem is a traditional Iranian food prepared in a number of different methods and a variety of flavors. During the Cooking Haleem Ceremony, people usually gather somewhere outside the home, such as in front of a house or a mosque, and collect as many of the necessary materials to cook this dish as possible. They then make a great fire, on which they place large pots filled with the ingredients, or mavaad-de tashkil dahandeh, needed to cook haleem. The ingredients for cooking haleem include turkey or mutton, peeled wheat, onion, salt, water, and turmeric, which in Persian is called zardchoobeh. Haleem-pazaan usually begins at sunset and lasts until two or three in the morning. During this time, the haleem must be continuously stirred so that it does not get burned.
Different parts of Iran hold this ceremony for different reasons. For example, in Karmowstaj village in Fars province, people hold Haleem Ceremonies at least once a year. In this region, it is believed that cooking and distributing haleem and taking pilgrimage, or ziyaarat in Persian, helps persuade God to send rain. In Juybar in Mazandaran province, this ceremony begins on the night of Arba'een after evening and Isha prayers, and in the presence of mourners of Imam Hossein. This mourning ceremony lasts until the morning prayer. Come dawn, the haleem is distributed among the people.
In Iran, haleem is usually served at special restaurants called haleemi. Since this dish cooks very slowly and takes a long time to prepare properly, these restaurants are almost always busy.
The word "haleem" can be written using two different spellings. Some people write the name of this food using its Persian root, with one particular letter that represents the /h/ sound. This writing means sticky, and is written as such because haleem is a very sticky food. Others, however, write it with a different letter, though it still represents the /h/ sound in Persian. In fact, this is an Arabic word meaning tolerance and patience, because making haleem requires patience.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
When and how is haleem usually eaten?
Haleem is often served hot with butter, cinnamon, and sugar or salt, and is decorated with sesame seeds for breakfast. Because haleem is highly nutritious and hard to digest, haleem is very useful for Eftaari during Ramadan. This hot and fatty food is also very popular on cold winter days.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Are there any ceremonies in your town where people gather and cook a certain dish together?
Leave us a comment telling us at PersianPod101.com, and I’ll see you in the next lesson!