Tag Archives: Persian Parade

Persians Celebrate Nowruz in Colorful Style on Madison Ave.

16 Apr
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Welcome Nowruz

     In the second leg of the weekend parades, the winds changed from an almost summer feel the day before to an almost winter feel. But that did not stop thousands of revelers to come out and cheer on the ancient festival of Nowruz at he 14th annual Persian Day Parade. The festival has passed down the term “spring cleaning” to the mainstream. It’s a celebration of the revival of nature and things coming back to life after a season of winter. Since the festival is over 3000 years, the Persian region and not one particular country come out to celebrate the event. Originally attributed to the Zoroastrian religion that dates back before Islam or Christianity, Nowruz has some familiar characters of tradition. Amu Nowruz is a friendly character that gives out money to children and has a similar appearance to Santa Claus while Haji Firuz bangs the tambourine to get the festival and dancing started. Pre-parade festivities were getting wrapped up as the crowd was getting anxious to see some of their favorite marchers. As usual, the mounted police let everyone on Madison Ave. and 38th St. know the parade was about to get started.  The NYPD Marching Band followed right behind to get the parade started.

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Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds

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Bahar Dance Ensemble

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Let The Party Begin

 

     This parade is known for its colorful floats and fine traditional dancers. One of the first floats was the Isfahan float with dancers moving to a traditional piano movement. Not an easy thing o do but they pulled it off quite nicely. A returning group that was well received was the Bahar Dance Ensemble. They always put on a great show. The Baba Tahar  float had some elegant dancers with alot of energy to please the crowd. In their second year, the Persian Parade DC Chapter was having fun especially when the Amu Nowruz character started dancing with them. The colorful floats also pay tribute to iconic figures like Cyrus, Ferdowsi, and Rumi.  This is always a fun parade that draws more people every year. The parade route leads everyone to Madison Square Park where the festivities continue. And if you get hungry there are kiosks with food vendors set up nearby. The Taste of Persia restaurant sets up shop there with their tasty vegetarian soup Ash Reshteh…a must have especially on a chilly afternoon.

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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 Pour onto Madison Ave. to Celebrate Nowruz

18 Apr

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The warm spring air was inviting many people to come out and bask in the sunlight on a cloudless picture perfect day. If you happened to stroll on Madison Ave. from 38th to 26th Sts. this past Sunday you would have seen one of the most colorful parades in the city this year. The Persian Parade kicked off around noon to the applaud of thousands of revelers lining the parade route waiting to see traditional costume and dance. They were not disappointed in the least. Parade organizers, NY Persian Parade Foundation, use the parade to celebrate Nowruz, an ancient Persian holiday to welcome Spring, thawing of winter. It’s a traditional symbol of hope, rebirth and a time to look forward with family and friends. One thing I admire about this parade is all the time and effort it takes to transform a boring old float into a garden of  color and awe. Kids of all ages would be impressed with how monuments and architectural history can be built onto a float as a way of unifying those Persians in the US with those back home. As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade. After parade VIPs and dignitaries made their way down the parade route, the fun really began with the first group of traditional dancers and of course the ever playful representation of Haji Firuz.

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The tradition of handing out money to small children was kept alive by a man dressed like old man winter. Persians are very spiritual people and boast about being one of the original declarers of human rights which modern Western society aspire to emulate. Devout followers of the Zoroastrian way of life marched in the parade with their blue robes. I didn’t see the Rumi followers as in previous years. There was more traditional dancers this year and one of the more impressive groups came from the Boston area. The Aftab Dancers really got the crowd worked up. Soon to follow was a large group of Central Asian Vatans with traditional attire and typical musical instruments. There was another group with traditional dancers while another group made their first visit to the parade..the Nomad dancers. They were really good. A parade favorite is the traditional wrestlers, Zoorkhaneh. They had their float with a drummer singing a song the crowd sang along with while the main wrestler gave instructions to his student wrestlers. Insanity it was not but it was still fun to watch. They were followed by a group of traditional dancers dressed in black that got the crowd moving towards Madison Square Park where there was more food and festivities celebrating Persian pride and culture.

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Happy Nawruz….Come Join Us 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  

A Puurrfect Persian Parade

13 Apr

 

  

     A festive mood could be seen and felt as soon as Rachel and I made our way to 38th St off of Madison Ave. as the preparations for the two-week long celebration of Nowruz, the Persian New Year and the arrival of spring, was kicking in high gear. The 8th annual Persian Parade was soon to start. DJs were busy preparing the tower of speakers on their floats while dancers were rehearsing their steps and colorful costumes could be seen everywhere.  Although Persia is no longer a recognized country, it is generally used to describe the culture and tradition from the Iranian region. Parade organizers, NYPP, expected 50,000 spectators to view the event and Madison Ave. was soon filling up with viewers both young and old. Rachel made her way further down the parade route to take some great photos while I watched the mounted police signal the start of the parade.

     Behind the large Persian Parade banner,  a young man  held high a symbol of Zorostrian culture. They were followed by two clowns..one held many green white and red balloons while the other was the Haji Firuz, the traditional herald of Nowruz. He was quickly followed by an uncle of Santa Claus who was a symbol of old man winter leaving and springs arrival. Giving gifts, eydi, to young children is a tradition and a young boy received a dollar bill and showed it off to his happy parents. Little did the young boy know his gift would be matched by a NYC Detective.  Nice job. After the VIPs marched on by, the fun really started.  A variety of dancers showed off their traditional dance steps to the cheering crowd while the upbeat music came blaring from the loudspeakers. There was plenty of enthusiasm and a vest for life from the dancers and some of that rubbed off on the crowd as people from all cultures joined in on the fun time.  

     A crowd pleaser was an Iranian wrestler of Zoor Khaneh doing warm up exercises along the parade route while followed by the Rumi Persian mystics dancing in circles. The best was saved for last as a float played techno style music and children in green, red and white t-shirts with Iran on the front danced and invited the crowd to follow to the end of the parade route and into Madison Square Park where hundreds kept the spirit of the event well into the afternoon. Rachel got caught up in the crowd of revelers and we met right outside the entrance to the park and split a Persian chicken sandwich…quite tasty.  A dj set up his equipment in the park and young and old alike danced to both modern and traditional music.  Many smiles and a general good feeling of celebration was seen all throughout the  park.   Happy Nowruz.. eid-i shoma mobarak (may you have an auspicious New Year).  

 

   

To see more pictures go to “Photographs” link on the right column and

CNN link– http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-589374

Next Parade: Easter Promenade Sunday April 24th 11am – 2pm 5th Ave. fr 44th to 57th . 

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