By Cielestia Calbay
Amid the struggle of adding classes and never-ending lines at
the cashier’s office at the start of spring quarter, an event
celebrating a new beginning was held Friday night in the Music
Recital Hall in commemoration of the Persian New Year, Norouz.
The Persian Society and Culture Club held its second annual
celebration to honor the first day of spring and the beginning of
the Iranian year.
Norouz, which means “new day,” is celebrated on the day of the
astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs March 21,
according to Kamran Abedini, an industrial and manufacturing
engineering professor and PSAC advisor.
“Spring is a time of renewal and friendship, so this was a way
for the community to get together while students display their
talents,” said Abedini.
As the lights dimmed, President Michael J. Ortiz delivered the
welcome address via a telecasted video in which he greeted the
audience in the Farsi language.
The celebration was an event like no other. It was led entirely
in Farsi by hosts Saam Vahdati and Anahita Behrad and included
students performing musical works by noted Persian composers, a
video highlighting Iran’s societal history and the acoustic
stylings of up-and-coming alternative rock band All Heroes.
“We want students to know that there’s a Persian New Year, just
like there’s a Chinese New Year,” said Sepehr Azari, a robotics
graduate student and PSAC student advisor.
Before the start of the show, guests gathered outside the
recital hall to greet old and new friends while helping themselves
to a variety of Persian pastries that are traditionally served
Graphic T-shirts and tank tops designed by members of PSAC were
also sold to benefit the club.
“Working on an event like this allowed me to become more
involved in school. It also brought me a lot closer to my friends,”
said Nadine Atashpanjeh, a third-year biology student and PSAC
The lobby of the recital hall set the stage for the cultural
aspect of the show, displaying a table of various elements
traditionally associated with Norouz. Atop an intricate lace
pattern tapestry were seven items symbolic of the holiday.
The table, known as a “Haft Sin” in Farsi, included seven items
all starting with the letter S in Farsi: Apples (seeb) are a symbol
of beauty, vinegar (serke) – aging and patience, spices (samanoo) –
sunrise, dried lotus fruit (senjed) – love, coins (sekke) – wealth,
garlic (seer) – medicine and eggs – fertility.
At the end of the presentation, guests stood in unison to the
Persian national anthem, “Salamati-ye Shah.”
The event was intended to unite the campus community by
introducing the Persian and Iranian culture, according to Abedini
and Behrad, PSAC treasurer.
“We’re trying to promote events like these as often as we can so
that students can become more involved,” said Behrad. “Not a lot of
Persians even know about this club.”
In addition, the event was a way for students to become aware of
the similarities between their culture and others’ cultures,
according to Bijan Roboudi, a third-year civil engineering student
and PSAC president.
“A lot of people interact with Persians and Iranians in everyday
life, but what they don’t get to see is their cultural side,” said
Roboudi. “When you learn about different cultures, you learn more
Norouz, which dates back 3,000 years, is celebrated for 13 days,
according to the Iranian Chamber Society’s Web site.
Allen Chen/Poly Post
Persian Club holds New Year celebration
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