News ID: 215181
Published: 0203 GMT May 16, 2018

Iranians to commemorate Khayyam

Iranians to commemorate Khayyam

Several organizations across the country will commemorate the birth anniversary of the great Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and poet Omar Khayyam on May 18 which is observed as National Khayyam Day.

Poets and literati from Persian-speaking countries will gather at the mausoleum of the great Persian polymath Omar Khayyam in Neishabour to lecture and exchange views on the eminent scholar.

Specialized workshops, poetry sessions, music performance as well as a photo exhibition will also be held on the sidelines.

To the Western world which has always been enchanted by the magnificence and glory of oriental culture, Khayyam is a venerable and honored figure who brings to mind the delicacy and gracefulness of ancient Persian civilization.

Khayyam constitutes an inseparable part of Iran's impressive history of literature and science. He is associated with the development of the most accurate solar calendar of the world, namely the Jalali calendar, which, according to astronomers and mathematicians is far more exact and precise than the Gregorian calendar. It's said that the solar calendar which Khayyam devised shows an error in the calculation of days and months only once in each 10,000 years.

Khayyam was born in 1048 in Neishabour city. The literary potency of Khayyam was so significant that made him the best composer of quatrains among the Persian poets; however, he is also known for his contributions to astronomy and one of his most major breakthroughs was the reformation of Persian calendar under the Seljuk King Sultan Jalal al-Din Malekshah Saljuqi after whom the Persian solar calendar was named.

Khayyam was a prominent figure of mathematics, literature, philosophy and astronomy in his age. Some of the orientalist historians believe that Khayyam was the student of Avicenna, the distinguished Persian physician, theologian and paleontologist of the 10th century. In one of his poems, Khayyam introduces himself as a follower of Avicenna's ideological path; however, this studentship seems to be a mystical and spiritual affinity rather than a direct mentor — student relationship.

The quatrains of Khayyam which have given him an international prominence are a collection of poems with philosophical essence and ontological nature in which Khayyam reveals his skeptical standpoints regarding the modality of material world and the existence of human being. It's widely believed that Khayyam had a pessimistic, cynical view on the material world as he typically tried to direct criticism against the hypocritical, insincere man and portray his crave for a utopian world which is practically impossible to realize.

There are several translations of Khayyam's quatrains available in various languages including English, German, Dutch, French, Italian, Danish and Arabic. Edward FitzGerald's translation is considered to be the most authentic and complete version of Khayyam's quatrains in English; however, the versions of Edward Henry Whinfield, John Leslie Garner and John Leslie Garner are the other acceptable and widely-read translations of Rubayiat.

The quatrains of Khayyam are available in more than 25 languages. One of the most remarkable translations of Khayyam's poetry into languages other than English belongs to Friedrich Martin von Bodenstedt. He was a 19th century German author who published a consistent Deutsch translation comprised of 395 quatrains in 1881. He was a tutor in the family of Russian aristocrat and priest Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin and had the opportunity to learn Persian by the virtue of Russia's proximity to the Greater Iran. The success of Bodenstedt's translation of Rubayiat in German can be compared to that of FitzGerald in English.

The other notable translation is from the prolific Swedish writer Eric Axel Hermelin who competently translated the quatrains into Swedish. Hermelin who passed away in 1944 is known for his contribution to the translation of Persian poetry into Swedish. He translated several works by the distinguished Iranian poets including Attar, Rumi and Nezami and paved the ground for the translation of other masterpieces of Persian literature into European languages, including, among others, Swedish.

A selection of poems from the Rubaiyat was published in Hungarian.

The collection, which also carries the English translation and Persian texts of the poems, has been translated under the auspices of the Embassy of Iran.

Tunisia has constructed a set of hotels named after Khayyam. One of the lunar craters has been named in honor of Omar Khayyam. The Omar Khayyam crater is located at 58.0N latitude and 102.1W longitude on the surface of moon. The Outer Main-belt Asteroid 1980 RT2 is also named in honor of Omar Khayyam. The Argentine Marxist revolutionary and guerrilla leader named his son in honor of Khayyam and his work. Omar Pérez López is a Cuban writer and poet.

American clergyman and activist Martin Luther King Jr. quoted Khayyam in his speech why I oppose war in Vietnam: "It is time for all people of conscience to call upon America to come back home. Come home America. Omar Khayyam is right 'The moving finger writes and having writ, moves on."

The late American novelist Kurt Vonnegut refers to Khayyam's "moving finger writes" quatrain in his novel 'Breakfast of Champions' when the protagonist Dwayne Hoover reveals that he had been forced to memorize it in high school.

FitzGerald's 101-verse semi-narrative translation of Khayyam's Rubaiyat rapidly captured the Victorian society to the extent that some compare its effect on Victorian England to that of Darwin's 'On the Origin of Species', published in the same year.

The University of Oklahoma finally became home to one of three statues of Persian classic poet Omar Khayyam (1048-1131), which were created by Iranian sculptor Hossein Fakhimi.

The two-meter tall statue was unveiled in the courtyard of the university on April 30, 2016, at a ceremony attended by a large number of US academics and Persian literature enthusiasts.

Earlier in May 2015, Fakhimi announced that officials in some US states were conferring with each other to find a suitable site to place the statue, which was sent from Tehran to New York in September 2014.

He said that the statue would be installed somewhere in Manhattan based on a decision made by Manhattan municipal officials during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's trip to New York in September 2013.


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