The incident marks the third time there has been a shooting at a U.S. military base in seven months and comes less than five years after another shooting rampage at Fort Hood ended with 13 dead and more than 30 injured.
The suspect, a soldier who had served in Iraq, “had behavioral health and mental health” issues.
Read the rest HERE
This does not even begin to address the suicide epidemic that is occurring in the military. Did you know that last year, more active-duty soldiers killed themselves than died in combat. And after a decade of deployments to war zones, the Pentagon is bracing for things to get much worse? Yet funding for mental health programs throughout the nation continues to get cut.
Use the pain and outrage that you’re feeling to demand that our government officials provide more efficient mental health care programs. Our current system is broken, and we’re not going to fix it by throwing a little money here or there and avoiding the problem.
Sizdahbedar (stylized as “13 Bedar”) is the name of a festival in Persian Culture. Sizdah is the Persian term for thirteen. Leaving the house on the Thirteenth Day of Farvardin (the first month of Iranian calendar), and joyfully spending the day outdoors have been a national tradition since ancient times in Iran.
Sizdah Bedar is the day Tir (The Blessed day) of the month Farvardin from ancient Persian (Iranian) calendar, which is the first day of agricultural activity of Ancient Persians. Be-dar in Persian means, going out. In this day Iranians go to have fun with their families all the day long,
On the thirteenth day of the new year, which also marks the end of the Nowrooz break for the school children, families leave their houses and head for the outdoors where they eat, play games, and celebrate a happy and healthy holiday season.
This tradition is called Seezdah Bedar (seezdah means thirteen) which in English translates to “getting rid of thirteen”. This fun and exciting outing involves all family members and is intended to end the holiday season on a relaxing and positive note. The concept of avoiding the number thirteen is mainly to symbolize the will and power to deal with all evil in the new year.
The two weeks long NoRooz celebration ends with SeezDeh Bedar. SeezDeh means Thirteen and SeezDeh Bedar is the process of getting over with or passing over the thirteenth day of the New Year. (Some believe 13 being an unlucky number)
Sizdah-Bedar is also believed to be a special day to ask for rain. In ancient Iran, every day had its own name, and belonged to a different angel. The 13th of Farvardin belonged to the angel of rain. This angel is depicted as a horse. Sizdah-Bedar is also a day for competitive games. Games involving horses were often chosen as a victory of a horse represented , the angle of rain.
On this day, girls & boys tie a knot with grass and make wishes perhaps for a husband or wife. When the knot is opened (it is beleived that) their luck will open and their wishes will come true. Newly weds also tie a grass knot making wishes for a baby, a house, or whatever is on their Have-To-Have list.
Tehran’s artificial lake earlier today!t
Women throwing her sabzeh into a river in Bath.
An interesting ritual performed at the end of the picnic day is to throw away the Sabzee from the Nowrooz Haft Seen table. The sabzee is supposed to have collected all the sickness, pain and ill fate hiding on the path of the family throughout the coming year! Touching someone else’s sabzee on this thirteenth day or bringing it home is therefore not a good idea and may result in absorbing their pain and hardship.
Iranian men surrounding Kabobs at a park in Tehran
Sizdeh Bedar FOOD
Some favorite snacks are Mint and Vinegar Syrup (Sekanjebeen) with Lettuce - recipe can be found HERE
Traditional Sizdah Bedar Food Menu
Chicken (Morgh) and Rice (Polow) have been important traditional preparations for the day. These two ingredients were common and widely used to make dishes for the day. Rice and Chicken together made an important Sizdah Bedar dish, Shevid Baghali Polow with Morgh or Dill Lima Beans Rice with Chicken. Ash Reshteh is another popular traditional preparation. The dishes are widely popular in today’s times as well.
Significance of Sizdah Bedar Dishes
As the day is meant to be celebrated outdoors, Sizdah Bedar dishes are prepared keeping this in mind. Sizdah Bedar recipes generally make use of food items and ingredients which do not go bad too soon and can be consumed comfortably in outdoor settings. An important and interesting fact to note is that wheat sprouts are not used in Sizdah Bedar preparations as it is traditionally believed that on this day, sprouts need to be thrown in water. This is symbolic of getting rid of disease, sadness, troubles and misfortune for the coming year.
Modern Sizdah Bedar Preparations and Their Varieties
Although little has changed over the years when it comes to Sizdah Bedar dishes in terms of ingredients, preparation methods have slightly varied from the traditional ways of cooking. Also, meat is not always a part of the menu nowadays. Religious groups and environmentalists promoting green celebration of festivals have been calling for use of organic vegetables for preparation of food and vegetarianism for quite some time now. People who have decided to make the festival greener follow Sizdah Bedar recipes which call for the use of vegetables grown organically and the preparations are purely vegetarian.
Some great traditional meal ideas for Sizdeh Bedar can be found here
Happy Sizdeh Bedar!