Nowruz is the Persian New Year and will be celebrated this year on Thursday, March 20th. It was made an official national holiday by the UN in 2010 and is a symbolic day because it falls on the first day of spring where the number of hours of daylight is equally the same as the night.
Originally, Nowruz was created to celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of things new. Typical customs might include a spring cleaning of the house and the purchase of at least one set of new clothes to wear for the New Year. While gifts to children are traditionally monetary, in Los Angeles, which has the highest number of Iranians living outside of Iran in the world, rhinoplasty, or plastic surgery of the nose, is now topping the list as the most requested Nowruz gift.
“In Los Angeles, Persian Princesses are not the only ones getting a rhinoplasty as a Nowruz gift,” stated Nima Shemirani, M.D., a facial plastic surgeon who practices at Eos Rejuvenation at the Lasky Clinic in Beverly Hills, CA. “Rhinoplasty is very popular in the Persian culture because genetically we are prone to having noses that are too large for our face and rhinoplasty is the only way to achieve balance and symmetry.” www.eosplasticsurgery.com
According to Dr. Shemirani, Nowruz is the perfect time to get a rhinoplasty, especially for high school graduates heading off to college and beginning a new life.
“Most of these people have been thinking about getting a rhinoplasty since they went through puberty,” noted Dr. Shemirani. “Undergoing surgery is a big decision and during this time the parent can (and needs to) be involved so they can ensure that they ask appropriate questions from the surgeon that their child may not think of, have the ability to select the right surgeon and, of course, sign consent forms.”
However, the Nowruz Nose as it is called here in LA, is not just a gift for high school or college students. Many people gift this to themselves or other loved ones who may also need a rhinoplasty to correct a deformity or for breathing issues. A typical rhinoplasty involves making the outside of the nose smaller and more proportionate to other facial characteristics. If the surgeon does not work to make the inside of the nose larger, by fixing a deviated septum for example, then the patient will have breathing problems afterwards. As well as changing the shape of the nose, rhinoplasty when performed correctly can also help these patients breathe better.
“Plastic surgery, in the appropriate patient, has been shown to increase self-confidence, improve overall happiness, and enhance quality of life. With more confidence, patients can go out and pursue what they want most out of life,” says Dr. Shemirani. “I hear, from my patients, how they used to hate taking pictures and would avoid smiling because it made their nose look worse so they lived a more introverted lifestyle. After surgery, with their new confidence, they love being out and smile readily for the camera.”
Dr. Shemirani notes that many people of Persian heritage have slightly thicker skin on the nose, while the underlying cartilage is delicate and thin which can lead to breathing problems and loss of support. Since the nose is the centerpiece of the face, plastic surgeons attempt to make it more proportional so it can accentuate the other attractive features of the Persian face, such as their almond shaped eyes and long eyelashes.
He further states that the appearance of the nose following rhinoplasty is also an interesting point in the Persian community. While most plastic surgeons and patients want a natural looking nose that maintains the patient’s ethnicity, there are some Persians who desire and request a nose that would not be considered ethnically Persian and would be considered by many to be an unnatural looking nose. Yes. People actually favor a scooped out profile and pinched tip because it makes a social statement - that they can afford plastic surgery. Even though they may not be able to breathe out of it well, they still want that look. Dr. Shemirani does not prefer this look so he makes it his goal to compromise on a smaller nose that has a little more curve, but isn’t pinched or small enough where they cannot breathe out of it.
As Nowruz continues to grow in importance and ultimately transitions into mainstream US culture, it may very well become a holiday of gifting beauty to family and friends.