Story by Mina Onar
Color and warmth are spread when spring comes around. It takes away the heaviness and the cold of the past months of winter and many cultures celebrate the upcoming spring with joy. The idea of spring cleaning is not limited to only one day of house cleaning in Iran; in fact, it is the basis of Persian New Year called Nowruz. Nowruz means “new day,” notifying that spring has come. This year the event began March 20.
“Every year, Nowruz coincides with the start of spring and traditionally celebrates the rebirth of nature. It also coincides with the spring equinox,” said Nick Bastani, who is an Iranian-American and Rose State academic adviser.
The celebration of nature’s rebirth lasts for two weeks. Nowruz is said to have started in Iran, which is why it is also known as the Persian New Year, or Iranian New Year. It is celebrated not just in Iran but in other Middle Eastern and Central Asian communities as well. While not acknowledged as a national holiday, there are other countries that celebrate Nowruz. Some countries that celebrate the Persian New Year include: Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Albania, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Iraq and Turkey. Nowruz brings every Iranian together to celebrate the Persian New Year.
“It means rebirth of nature and start of another cycle of life, unifying of people and nations,” Bastani continued. “It helps my soul and brings me peace. I love to share this season with friends around the world.”
As Nowruz brings many people together, it is celebrated in Oklahoma City by many people as well.
Bastani added that the state of Oklahoma has recognized the Persian New Year when Gov. David Walters was a governor.
“Persian community along with our fellow Americans celebrate the Nowruz with music, food and fun.”
This national holiday of Iran is celebrated around the world by many people who often try to celebrate it as traditionally as possible.
“Children are dressed in traditional clothing for different shows across the world,” Bastani said.
Even though Nowruz, the Persian New Year, seems culturally different than the new year in the U.S., there are still similarities between the two. “From the spiritual standpoint, they both represent peace, tradition and family,” Bastani said.
One of the biggest differences between the New Year in the U.S. and the Persian New Year is that the Persian New Year celebration lasts for almost two weeks.
“On the 13th day around the world, we bring ends to our festivity,” Bastani added.
This year, the celebrations were held at Lake Arcadia for a full day of picnic.
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