Commentary: Nowruz, the Persian new year, is an ancient, welcoming event

The Iranian American community and public officials celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year, at the Rose Garden in Irvine in 2017.
(Photo sourtesy of K.E. Mehrfar )

The Iranian American Community Group, an umbrella organization for 13 Iranian American institutions, will host its sixth annual Persian new year festival, Nowruz, next month in Irvine.

Just like the last five festivals, it will be all-inclusive, open to everyone and feature lots of live music and dance performances. There will be a DJ, children’s activities and cultural displays, as well as Persian tea and cookies. Authentic Persian foods will be available for purchase.

Last year, based on some estimates, close to 5,000 people attended, including elected officials at various levels. This year our representatives from the federal, state, county and city levels have been invited, and attendees will have a chance to talk with them in a relaxed environment.

Nowruz is the most important, and perhaps the most ancient, annual event on the Persian calendar. Although it is deeply rooted in Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest religions, the holiday is celebrated by people from various faiths.


The Persian ancestors who created Nowruz were smart and wise to directly link it to the rebirth of Mother Nature, an ever-lasting, ever-fresh annual event that will come back every single year to bring rejuvenation of life on planet Earth.

So for as long as mother nature and planet Earth exist, Nowruz will exist. And even though Nowruz started in ancient Iran, the leaders of several other countries — including U.S. presidents, regardless of administration and political views — have in the last 40 years sent congratulatory messages to those celebrating the holiday.

Perhaps the most profound, and most important, of this ancient, sacred tradition is its message. The message of Nowruz, which is deeply rooted in its origin, is for all mankind. Nowruz reminds us of love, peace, joy, happiness, prosperity and selfless dedication to others. After all, we as humans belong to one family: humanity.

Come and join the IAC Nowruz festival from 1 to 6 p.m. March 24 at Bill Barber Park, which is next to Irvine City Hall, at 4 Civic Center Plaza. Have fun and celebrate the blessings. For more information, see


K.E. MEHRFAR lives in Newport Beach.