According to my informant Cuban women are told to take a bath with gardenia and honey. The bath is supposed to sweeten them and give them a good fragrance. The bath is supposed to make men attracted to them and help them find a husband. My informant jokingly said her
Another tradition on New Years Eve is to throw a bucket of water out the door. This is an act of purification that is meant to get rid of all of the bad spirits in your own and in your life. The tradition is most likely from Santeria, an Afro-Cuban religion. My informant said that as a child she couldn’t wait until it was midnight on New Years. She would look out her door and see everyone on the street throwing water out their door. As a child she thought this was very entertaining.
At midnight on the 31st of December, Cubans eat twelve grapes, which symbolize each month of the year; this is supposed to bring good luck. The tradition derives from Spain. This tradition originated in December during early 1900s, when there was an excess harvest of grapes due to abnormal weather conditions. The king of Spain gave everyone grapes to eat on New Years Eve. My informant said that this is such a funny tradition because when the clock strikes twelve everyone’s mouths are filled with grapes.
When somebody passes all of the family members gather and they bring food and say prayers at the home of the person who has died. The burial is usually occurs within three days of the person’s death. They usually have a big memorial on the seventh day. During the memorial family and friends gather and eat Persian food, which is supposed to be comforting. The 7th day is a significant day for saying prayers. Forty days after the death of the person they do another memorial, which only includes the deceased person’s family member, friends are not included. This memorial includes a prayer ceremony and eating traditional Persian food. The family of the deceased person are supposed to wear black for forty day after the person’s passing. If the person that died was young, they are traditionally supposed to wear black for a year. The family of the person who died celebrates the anniversary of their death every year. They visit the person’s burial site, where they take flowers and then typically go to a family dinner or lunch.
Shah nameh is a famous book written by Ferdosi, who according to my informant is like the Shakespeare of Iran. This work of literature is very difficult to interpret and understand. So, the saying essentially means that you have to read the entire book in order to understand what happens. It is similar to the American saying you can’t judge a book by its cover.