The anticipation for the new spring season started off with a Nowruz celebration hosted by Glendale College’s Persian Student Association (PSA) on March 15.
Nowruz, which means “new day” in Farsi, is the celebration of the new year, which coincides with the arrival of the new season. Celebrated around the world, Nowruz can date back 3,000 years. The key elements feature a haft seen, a major traditional table setting of Nowruz when ringing in the Iranian spring celebration. The Haft-Seen table includes seven items starting with the letter “s” or seen in the Persian alphabet:
Sabzeh or sprouts, usually wheat or lentil represents rebirth. Samanu is a pudding in which common wheat sprouts are transformed and given new life as a sweet, creamy pudding and represents the ultimate sophistication of Persian cooking. Seeb means apple and represents health and beauty. Senjed the sweet, dry fruit of the lotus tree, represents love. Seer which is garlic in Persian, represents medicine. Somaq, sumac, represent the color of sunrise. Serkeh or vinegar, represents age and patience.
The PSA began planning the event back in January, and with a cabinet of less than ten members, they executed the task of presenting the college with a historical event.
“Nowruz is one the most colorful events in Iran, we wanted to open the eyes of our fellow students on an event that brings together love, hope and happiness,” club president Reza Zarghamafshar said.
The public was first welcomed to the auditorium for a presentation illustrating the history and significance of Nowruz conducted by Zarghamafshar. Other speakers included Glendale College’s President Dr. David Viar, Board of Trustees member Dr. Vahé Peroomian, and Iranian media figures Alireza Amirghassemi and Hossein Majid.
“This event is a great symbol on what GCC represents,” President Viar said. “Our focus is to embrace all cultures and to educate others on the diversity.”
Zarghamafshar presented attendees with a slideshow of the previous Nowruz events at Glendale College. “This year’s is the most significant, we have gained the support of one the most prominent Iranian figures from Tapesh TV, Mr. Amirghassemi.”
Alireza Amirghassemi is the CEO and founder of Tapesh Television, one of the most watched Persian networks with over 55 million viewers around the world. Catering North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East via satellite, cable network and online broadcast.
The crowd stood on their feet as Amirghassemi embarked the stage. He was proud on what Glendale has achieved in such a short amount of time. He signified on the importance of being an Iranian in today’s society.
“The United States is a land of opportunities, but it’s also a melting pot. You become an American, which we appreciate, but we must stay true to our roots,” Amirghassemi said. “We are Persians, more than anything else Iranians.”
After the keynote, PSA had a special surprise for the audience. Morteza Barjesteh, best known by his stage name Morteza, is an Iranian pop singer who gained fame in Iran during the 1980’s, embraced the stage to sing his classics while ringing in the new year. He broke barriers after the Iranian revolution along with many other notable artists, he brought back the pop culture Iran had previously created.
Fans were quick to fill the floor, from parents to their young ones, as Morteza proved to keep the beat alive.
As lunch hour began to wind down, many jumped in line to get the notable Iranian dish “Chelo Kabob” for $8. As an added bonus, with just an additional $3 you could try Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream, known as the saffron and rose ice cream.
“It’s incredible to learn the history of Nowruz from a non-Iranian perspective,” Christian Frausto said.
Nowruz brings together many for one special night, so remember change your calendars to the year 1395.