The vernal equinox is commonly called the first day of spring, and in some areas of the world it is a huge national holiday. President Obama even celebrates it at the White House. Of course, information that President Obama is celebrating an ancient vernal equinox tradition from Iran might fly under the radar for most news readers because he is also allegedly buying a house in Hawaii for his retirement from the Oval Office.
While most of us missed President Obama’s vernal equinox address to the Iranian people, Rush Limbaugh naturally had something negative to say about it.
People around the world celebrate the vernal equinox differently. In Southwest Asia, for example, people in places like Iran celebrate the vernal equinox with a holiday called “Nowruz,” which translates into “New Year.” The vernal equinox holiday is so old that no one in those areas of the world knows if it is based on ancient religions from over 3,000 years ago — or just for fun. The Iranian people predominately celebrate Nowruz, and they celebrate it as a non-religious vernal equinox tradition.
Because Nowruz is one of the biggest holidays in Iran, when it is time for the vernal equinox, President Obama takes time to create a special video message directed at the people of Iran every year.
The Washington Post quoted President Obama from his annual vernal equinox address called “2015 Nowruz Message to the Iranian People.” They stated, “President Obama on Thursday night also used the Iranian new year festival, Nowruz, to urge the people and leaders of Iran to support a deal limiting the country’s nuclear program. Obama urged them to follow a path that would bring ‘a brighter future’ of trade, ties, investment, jobs and cultural exchanges.”
The Washington Post points out that President George H.W. Bush also reached out to the Iranian people on the vernal equinox in 1992 to thank them for their contributions to American culture (like Andre Agassi, The Iron Sheikh, Yu Darvish, David Bahktiari, Nasim Pedrad, Christiane Amanpour, Sarah Shahi, and Gholam Peyman the inventor of LASIK).
President Clinton and President George W. Bush have likewise used the vernal equinox to send positive messages to the people of Iran, despite the decades-long political meltdown between the two countries.
Like previous vernal equinox addresses to the Iranian people on Nowruz, this year, Obama spoke to the leaders of Iran saying that they had a choice to end the hardships between the two countries. Obama specifically pointed out in his vernal equinox video that Iran’s inability to get along with the United States politically creates continued economic sanctions on that country that withhold job opportunities from the youth of Iran.
Why is Obama saying all of this to Iranians during their vernal equinox celebrations? Over the next weeks, President Obama and Iran will be doing serious nuclear negotiations that will hopefully release tension between the two countries.
The Wall Street Journal transcribed President Obama’s 2015 vernal equinox address to the Iranian people and Obama ends on a positive note with, “For decades, our nations have been separated by mistrust and fear. Now it is early spring. We have a chance—a chance—to make progress that will benefit our countries, and the world, for many years to come. Now it is up to all of us, Iranians and Americans, to seize this moment and the possibilities that can bloom in this new season.”
President Obama stated in his vernal equinox video, “Last week, my wife Michelle helped mark Nowruz here at the White House. It was a celebration of the vibrant cultures, food, music and friendship of our many diaspora communities who make extraordinary contributions every day here in the United States. We even created our own Haft Seen [a table of vernal equinox symbols specific to Iran], representing our hopes for the new year.”
In a video released on March 11, Michelle Obama says about the Iranian vernal equinox celebration, “One of the things I love about the White House is how it truly is the people’s house. It is a house that reflects the diversity of culture and traditions that make us who we are as a country. Nowruz is one of those traditions.”
When Rush Limbaugh heard about a vernal equinox celebration in the White House and Obama’s address to the Iranian people, he blew a gasket. The transcripts from Rush’s vernal equinox broadcast stated, “It’s unprecedented. An American president addressing the Iranians.”
Rush Limbaugh also said about Obama’s vernal equinox speech, “Can somebody answer a question, why are we even talking to them? We’re so far gone that we’ve lost sight of that basic question. Why in the world are we talking to Iran? Why are we negotiating the whole subject of nuclear weaponry with them?”
Defending President Obama after his attack by Rush Limbaugh over the vernal equinox address, The Chicago Tribune said in a sarcastic tone, “It really is atrocious of the president to issue a message like this, knowing full well it was going require pundits like Limbaugh to get all bent out of shape and stomp up and down to jam Obama’s words into the Preconceived Narrative/Conspiracy Theory News Grinder (trademark pending). It seems Obama will never learn. Much like the people who only listen to Rush Limbaugh.”
[Feature image by Alex Wong/Getty Images.]