‘Nowruz Bazaar’ Commemorates Traditional Persian New Year

Mariam Grigoryan

As some students sat quietly in classrooms, reading and listening to lectures, outside peers, faculty and children were dancing, eating, and admiring the exhibits displayed outdoors, celebrating Persian New Year.

Organized by the Persian Student Association, “The Nowruz Bazaar” was held Thursday March 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the San Rafael Plaza.

“I think it was a very successful event. It was well attended by students, faculties and staff and the community members. This is the biggest cultural event of Glendale College and it is a bridge between the college and the community.”?said Paris Noori, adviser of Persian Student Association who had been planning this event for nearly six months-a tiring and exhausting process that required a lot of time and dedication. The stress, however, seemed to be worth it; all the positive feedback motivated her to continue this annual tradition.

Traditional music filled the campus, with colorful booths displaying Persian art, rugs, flowers, jewelry, and pastries.
A number of?club members
joined the spectators who were dancing to the Persian music provided by DJ Alex.

As a part of an on-going tradition celebrating the Persian New Year, Nowruz, it is customary to set up a table, Haft-Seen. It contains seven edible items beginning with letter “S.”?They symbolize life, health, happiness, prosperity, love, joy and beauty. The booth was set up beautifully and the members of the club, along with the volunteers, were eager to share with their peers their knowledge of this tradition.

The booth for the Akbar Mashti Ice Cream (traditional Persian ice cream) caught a lot of attention from the children who were on a field trip. According to Noori, elementary school teachers call in advance, as soon as September, to plan their field trip to the Planetarium so it would be on same date as the Persian New Year event.

The ice cream booth was not the only attraction for the children. A man dressed in a bright red costume, also known as Haji-Firuz, was singing, dancing, telling jokes and entertaining. He is an emblematic figure, a representation of rebirth, sacrifice and joy-a custom dating back to when African servants brought to Iran acted as entertainers, hence the coloring of their face and hands black.

Under another shady tent, two women were discussing and explaining the history of the paintings and books on display. Badri Borghei, a famous Persian artist, was also present. She encouraged everyone to read the books for a deeper understanding of their culture.

Borghei was recognized at YWCA in 1997 as being an “Incredible Woman Making History.”

There was also a tent devoted to the traditional Persian musical instruments. A few were borrowed from volunteers and from Noori herself, such as the tombak, a goblet-shaped drum played by both hands holding it horizontally. A very upbeat and popular instrument. Santoor, a trapezoid-shaped, seventy-two string instrument, made of wood and is played by striking the bronze and steal strings by light wooden hammers.

Barely anyone could resist the pastry booth, covered in delicious pastry and sweets. Close to the tea house tent known as Chay Khaneh, the combination made a perfect tea party for some.

“It is wonderful to see such a united and lively culture, and how their celebrations show their dedication to their values and traditions,” said a passerby Tatiana Escobar, communication major.