Childhood
Folk speech
Musical

Persian Ditty/Folk Poem

Contextual Data: I asked my informant if there were any stories or songs that he learned when he was younger and he mentioned this one; he would sing this poem with his grandmother as he got ready for school in the morning. We met over coffee and he recited the poem in Farsi, then wrote it down both in Farsi and in the Romanization of the Farsi script, before reciting the English translation.

Farsi:

In Romanized Script:

Māmānī māmānī māmānī joon.
Chaī rā bezār rú fenjoon
Vakhtī kē chaī rā nooshīdan
Māmānī rā booshīdan
Mīran koodakestán
Shādān o khandán
Shādān o khandán

Translated to English:

Grandmother, grandmother, grandmother dear
Put the tea on the kettle
When I drink my tea,
And kiss my grandmother
I’ll go to school
With joy and laughter
With joy and laughter 

My informant learned this poem from his grandmother, and the two of them would sing it together as he was getting ready for school in the morning. He attached no particular significance to it — it was just a sort of sweet, daily ritual between him and his grandmother. But he has talked about it with his Iranian friends, who have all heard of it and speak of reciting it in similar contexts. He felt that people passed it on partially just because it’s easy to remember because of the rhyme scheme, but also because it is kind of a way to get kids excited about going to school.

But beyond this, it could speak to the possible importance of the grandmother as part of the family household and her role in caring for the children.  In general, though it’s just such a happy ditty — it’s something my informant clearly associates with fond memories and positive relationships, and something that allowed him to always start his day off on a joyful note, which could explain why he plans on passing it on to his own children. 

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