Nowruz celebration a sweet success for Persian Club


Erin Smith

The Persian Club members take a final bow after a successful Nowruz celebration.

Erin Smith, Features editor

Iranians have been celebrating Nowruz, or Persian New Year, for over 2500 years. It’s a time to clear out the old and bring in the new. Nowruz, or “new day,” brings family and friends together to celebrate the coming of spring and enjoy each others company.

Family and friends dressed to the nines gathered around the Performing Arts Center at Diablo Valley College on Friday Feb. 27 to take part in this ancient holiday and support the Persian club, the group responsible for creating the event.

“We’re trying to show Persian culture to everyone whose non-Iranian,” said Sharmin Zirak, vice president of the Persian club and political science major. “Last time I only performed for the dances but now I’m vice president, so I can contribute in a greater way to the whole Persian community.”

The event kicked off with an introduction from DVC computer science professor and Persian club adviser, Firouzeh Zandi.

“Imagine for a minute you live in a time where every country lives in harmony. No ISIS, no Taliban, this is what the Persian empire used to be,” said Zandi.

In regards to the mission of the event, she said, “We are a culture that’s very tolerant and loving. There is a lot of bashing of Iranian culture on TV. We want to spread the message that we welcome everybody.”

Zandi explained how the Persian culture was one of the first to believe in basic human rights and freedom of religion. A big component to the celebration is the Cyrus cylinder, a small clay cylinder that contains a declaration similar to the Bill of Rights.

The women of the Persian club entertained the crowd with a dance in brightly colored and ornately beaded dresses as the Haft Seen, or table top arrangement, was set. The table contains seven items that represent qualities to look forward to in the new year. The items include such things as an apple representing beauty and health, garlic to represent medicine, and sprouts representing rebirth.

The Papiyon band got the crowd clapping and singing along as they played high energy songs on drums and keyboards. The band, which consists of three brothers, Vincent, Arman, and Alexi Omid, was a highlight of the show.

Vincent Omid, president of the Persian club, said, “We have put a lot of work into this show and it would not have been possible without our adviser.”

After a quick intermission where tea and small treats were served, a traditional folk dance opened up the second half of the show.

A santoor, a traditional string instrument, was brought on stage and Vaheed Bagheri played a beautiful and heartfelt set of traditional Persian music. Up next was Parisa Vaaleh who had the most melodic and hauntingly beautiful voice. It was a very emotionally charged performance.

The last singing act was given by Bazm Music. Emad Kalalipour sang a hymn with lyrics in Farsi, accompanied by a Setaar and drums. The music was very relaxing and soothing and the audience clapped and sang along with the familiar tunes.

The Persian club returned to the stage with a contemporary Iranian dance that was fun and lighthearted. They fused modern and traditional dance moves set to an incredible array of music.

The celebration ended with a big thank you and congratulations to the Persian club from Zandi, who said, “I’d like to thank all the crews and people who made it possible to put on this night and everyone who came.”

Nowruz actually takes place on March 20, but this event designed to be entertaining and educate students.