Happy New Year! The local Persian community soon will be celebrating the start of a traditional new year. “Nowruz” (one of several spellings) marks the first day of spring and is an Iranian cultural holiday that followers of different religions celebrate. The holiday is known as the Iranian New Year or Persian New Year but is celebrated primarily by people in various parts of the Middle East and Asia. It’s a festive occasion that marks the new year and “renewal” overall and one that people of Persian backgrounds celebrate also in other parts of the world.
Nowruz starts on the first day of spring, marked by vernal equinox. Sabzeh (sprouts) are an symbol of the Persian New Year, representing birth and growth. On the thirteenth day of the new year, known as Sizdah Bedar, people enjoy a day outdoors, celebrating in groups to bond with nature and celebrate with a picnic or other festivities. In Northern Virginia you can find a few Persian New Year celebrations that feature entertainment, food, and fun for all ages. The two biggest celebrations are the Norwuz Festival and the Sizdah Bedar Festival. See details on these community events below.
Nowruz Festival – Sunday, March 18, 2018
Tysons Corner, VA
The annual Norwuz Festival at Tysons Corner Center is a big and colorful community celebration. From 11 am to 5 pm, guests can discover more than 3,000 years of tradition and customs through live music, dance, and dramatic performances. You can meet costumed characters, sample authentic Persian food, and shop for crafts and goods in a bazaar with more than 75 vendors. Admission is free; plenty of parking is available and the mall is Metro-accessible.
Sizdah Bedar Festival – Sunday, April 1, 2018
The annual Sizdah Bedar Festival at the Bull Run Regional Park at Special Events Center in Centreville is a daylong celebration, 9 am to 6 pm. The festival features traditional dancing, singing, and music by a DJ, plus plenty of vendors selling Persian foods and merchandise and a children’s playground including moon bounces and other inflatables. Admission starts at $10 (advance sales) and is free for children under two years old.