Tag Archives: Nowruz in NYC

Nowruz Brings Many Happy Persians to Madison Ave.

1 May
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Traditional Persian dancers

     Every April, thousands of people from Persian nations and cultures gather on Madison Ave. to celebrate the ancient tradition of Nowruz. The festival is celebrated on the vernal equinox when the Sun crosses the equator into the Northern Hemisphere. This tradition predates Islam and unites all cultures from that world region regardless of country or religion. It is one of the most important holidays and is celebrated with bountiful color, traditional meals and cleansing of the home. It’s very likely where the Spring cleaning tradition comes from. This parade has the most colorful and lively floats of the many parades in NYC. The popping colors represent hope, renewal and rebirth. Aside from the colorful floats, there were also depictions of the Prophet Zoroaster  where the tradition of Nowruz may have been started. At one time Zoroastrianism was one of the powerful world religions. The tradition also coincides with the time of Cyrus the Great, the original creator of the Charter of Human Rights.

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Start of the Parade

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Central Asians in Traditional Attire

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There’s A Party Over Here

 

     As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade. They were soon followed by parade VIPs and energetic dancers getting the crowd worked up for a fun celebration. Usually the traditional characters of Amoo and his sidekick Haji Firuz kick off the parade with presents and revelry but looks like they missed the bus ride in. There was a group of traditional dancers that really got into the spirit of the holiday. It was great to see representatives from Central Asia come and blow their horns. This was the first year a group from Washington DC made their way North to join in the celebration. They did a great job and represented well. But probably having the most fun this  year were the masquerade dancers dressed in black. They really put on a good show for everyone. The parade always closes out with a crowd of students chanting out a happy chorus in unison “Iran”.  One of the best things about the parade is the after party. First, most people get some delicious food from kiosks a block away from the end of the parade route on 24th St. I opted for the traditional soup, Ash Reshteh from the Taste of Persia spot. The party kept on going at Madison Square Park where the spirit of Nowruz was alive and well.

                                                           Wind and rain have gone.
                                                           Lord Nowurz has come.
                                                          Friends, convey this message.
                                                         The New Year has come again
                                                         This spring be your good luck
                                                        The tulip fields be your joy.
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                                  Happy Nowruz……see you next year.

 

Persians Dance in Celebration on Madison Ave.

18 Apr

     

Every culture has a way of celebrating the passing of one season to another. Some are ancient and filled with symbolism and tradition. This was the case when the 9th annual Persian Parade marched down Madison Ave. this past Sunday. Nowruz is the celebration of Spring and the New Year according to the Iranian calendar and is also a way of teaching the children of the tradition and culture from back home. This years parade had more children participating in dance and song than in previous years. The NYC Police Marching Band announced the start of the parade while soon followed by a representation of Zoroaster, one of the oldest religions of humankind. The presence of fire is usually part of the festival in other parts of the world but in NYC, it’s a big no no to have an open flame. A group of traditional dancers were the first of many to display their moves. The crowd enjoyed their costume and flowing dance moves. The Persian area is home to many countries with Iran being the predominant country. As part of the Persian Parade, other countries represented their culture through dance and costume. A group from Krygyzstan  made their appearance soon followed by a group of young Armenian dancers much to the delight of the crowd. One of the largest Iranian flags was carried down Madison Ave. by the group representing Iran. A group of gypsy dancers had fun dancing to the happy crowd. 

     The Rumi ancient mystics made their way in front of a crowd pleaser, the Zoor Khaneh. Another group of enthusiastic young dancers representing Azerbaijan put on a nice dance show for the crowd. It’s always great to see the younger generation to carry on the tradition and none was better than an Armenian group. One of the best parts of the parade was when the belly dancers appeared. They were accompanied by a representation of Haji Firuz that got the crowd all worked up.  A more modern dancing group all dressed in black suits and red ties dance their way down the parade route while some watchers snuck in a dance with them. They definitely had the moves. Closing out the parade were a group of children waving the Iranian flag and dancing to a favorite song. People of all origins were invited to join in as they made their way down to Madison Square Park for the post-parade celebration. It’s great to see the young parade grow into a larger celebration of one of the oldest holidays in Persia.

             HAPPY NOWRUZ  

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