Los Angeles (and Southern California in general) is home to a large Iranian-American community. With population estimates between 300,000 and half a million, Southern California boasts the largest concentration of Iranians in the world, outside of Iran.
Iranian immigrants began arriving in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. As the 1979 Iranian Revolution unfolded, large numbers of Iranians fled Iran. Many of them settled in Los Angeles. Many Iranian immigrants, including Muslims, Christians, and Jews, originated from the upper classes.Los Angeles was ideal for Iranians because it reminded them of home. The "landscape, the car culture, [and] the mountains" was similar to what was found in 1970s Iran, says Dr. Reza Aslan. Over the years, the Iranian community expanded across Southern California, with large numbers settling in Beverly Hills, the San Fernando Valley, Irvine and greater Orange County, as well as the Inland Empire. Each year Persian Zoroastrian get together to celebrate Sade Festival.
Sadeh , is an ancient Iranian festival that dates back to the first Persian Empire, Achaemenid Empire, which celebrates 50 days before Nowruz. Sadeh in Persian means "hundred" and refers to one hundred days and nights past the end of summer (or the beginning of long-winter known to start at the end of summer in ancient Iran). Sadeh is a mid winter festival that was celebrated with grandeur and magnificence in ancient Persia.It was a festivity to honor fire and to defeat the forces of darkness, frost, and cold.
Another important Persian festival is the celebration of Persian New year called Nowruz. Right below you can see on of the Nowruz celebration in Los Angeles.
PERSIAN NEW YEAR; NOWRUZ AT SMC: While other culture focus on new resolution for their new year, Iranian people focus on nature and refreshing spiritual which is respectively related to the beauty of nature. The persian New Year's Eve table and dish is a unique. For persian people it means celebration which brings happiness .The story in the past that started this culture which is partly rooted in the tradition of Zoroastrianism -ancient persian religion -from over 3,700 years ago . It occurs on March 2 the first day of spring. Also this tradition includes special table called Haftseen. At the beginning of the year, people hug each other and wish a happy, healthy and wealthy new year. Also another tradition is that they exchange gifts. Additionally, The first few days are spent visiting older members of the family, relatives and friends and totally family reunion.
It’s spring, and SMC’s persian students were celebrating their traditional New Years which has called Nowruz. Persian club members have planned to introduce part of persian culture by showing all traditions and foods for persian new years. They provided delicious dish including Kabab and Polo for free. They also have live music and dance, which performed by two professional persian artists. Persian club members also provided a Haftseen which is a traditional table for Nowruz. Nowruz is celebrated on March second the first day of spring in Iran and 13 other countries.
Aylar Ebrahimian who is a fashion design student at SMC and SMC Persian club members about this event told “ this events aimed at trading SMC’s students about Persian culture and the dance which has performed by me is a traditional Iranian celebration dance.” She explained that the special table for Persian new year usually is an arrangement of seven symbolic items traditionally displayed at Nowruz. The haft-seen table includes seven items all starting with the letter Seen in the Persian alphabet which are symbolizing rebirth, affluence, love, health, beauty, sunrise, old-age and patience.” Aylar additionally said that Iranians consider Nowruz as their biggest celebration of the year.
Yara Bahonar the violin player performance was the interesting part of Persian cultural celebration and got all attention. Bahonar who is - the fastest violinist in 2013- according to Guinness records, told that Nowruz means "New Day". It is the new day which is traditionally the exact timing for beginning of the Spring. He also said that his performance at SMC was because of Persian cultural celebration to share peace and love. Bahonar wished that his performance could inspire art students at SMC to study music.
Siva Moazami who is a Nursing student has explained about this tradition and told “ holding such a cultural events at Smc has shown that Santa Monica College has valued their students and their belonging culture.” She added that “ another positive effect of this type of events is that it can help students to become familiar with other cultures and tradition.” Another attendant who was communication students was there to write her class paper about intercultural communication; called “fish out of the water”. Lean Bogart told “ This is an awesome opportunity for me as a communication students to experience different culture and tradition at comose. The food, music and dance were excellent, and Persian students just did a good job because holding cultural events at SMC makes this community different from other colleges.”She told that before this event she hasn’t heard about Nowruz, but now by this events sha got an idea about this culture.