Persian Parade in New York
Every culture celebrates the change in seasons in some fashion, but few are as ancient, colourful and full of symbolism as the traditional ceremonies for the beginning of the Persian New Year, or Nowruz(1), marking the first day of spring.
Nowruz(2) is all about hope. With the first day of spring, the New Year celebration represents rebirth and hope - and Nowruz is a way for the children to celebrate and learn about their cultural background, just like so many other people in America have done.
The range and variety of Nowruz celebrations reflect the richness and diversity of Persian culture in the United States, which includes the people of many nations and ethnic backgrounds that were once part of the greater Persian Empire(3).
Highlight of Nowruz celebrations in the United States has been annual Persian Parade in Madison avenue New York (4). As of March of 2004, few visionary Persian Americans used this majestic celebration as a platform to not only advertise and celebrate the deep culture, but more than anything, pass the Persian Identity and Pride to our next generation.
The New York Persian Parade was established in the State of New York as a not-for-profit organization in 2004. The mission of the Persian Parade is to promote and introduce Persian culture (5), its historical achievement in art(6), folklore(7), science(8), and the Persian civilization(9) to the general public. Its main celebration is the Nowruz Parade and Festival in New York City. Nowruz, the New Year, is celebrated in Iran as well as many other nations such as Afghanistan (10), Uzbekistan (11), Azerbaijan(12), etc(13).
In March 2010 and after some years struggle of Persian community in United States,
The House of representative passed the Nowruz resolution (H. Res. 267) by a vote of 384 to 2. In this process, Congressman Michael Honada worked hard to promote and pass the resolution. The resolution recognizes the cultural and historical significance of Nowruz, expresses appreciation to Persian Americans (14) for their contributions to American society, and wishes Persian Americans, the people of Iran, and all those who celebrate the holiday a prosperous new year. The passage of the resolution marks the first time that the U.S. Congress has officially recognized the Persian New Year. The Nowruz resolution is part of Persian community’s efforts to foster greater understanding of Persian culture and heritage as well as to project an accurate and positive image of the Persian American community that reflects Persian’s true values and achievements.
Nowruz is celebrated not only in New York, but also in some other U.S cities as well as in Canada (17). One of the Major Nowruz celebrations take place every year in Los-Angeles (18) or as it’s called Tehran-geles.
Since office time of President Clinton, most of the years, the presidents of the United States of America send congratulation message directly to the Persian people and other nations who celebrate Nowruz. Only in March 2009, President Obama sent message to Islamic regime (19) in Iran, which was a big mistake and was blamed by many Persian as well as some U.S politicians. But after all, he corrected his mistake and send message directly to the people of Iran (20)(21)(22).
Once The Persian parade started in 2004(15) in New York, only some hundred attendances, mainly curious passers- by and tourists showed this colourful ceremony in Madison Avenue.
Nevertheless, through the last years, until the 9th annual Parade(16) that was held along the 12 blocks of Madison Avenue on April 15th, the number of attendances grew rapidly to showcase the great Persian culture. The last Event drew a record cheering crowd of Persian Americans, curious tourists, and mainstream Americans. Many Iranians travelled across the ocean to witness this majestic event. The colourful parade, with a large number of activities, music bands, dance ensembles, flags, floats, performers, marchers, and dignitaries, was again an impressive display of Persian Pride.
Persian Parade, which is a none-profitable cultural organization with no affiliation to any political or religious group, wishes that the 10th parade will be held in 2013 in New York again and can attract even more attendances to this annual ceremony.
To finish this small introduction of Persian Parade in New York, I attach the collection videos of Parade in 2012 in three parts. In these three sample videos, we can see that, every ethnic Persian group (23) represents it’s own Music, dance and colourful cloths.
The first video, after a short introduction, continues with the National Hymn of Iran (24) and the United States (up to minute 4:18). From 6:50 to7:20 M. Zoroastrians (25) marched with their famous school of thoughts (Good Thoughts- Good Words- Good Deeds). From 7:32 to 8:30M.the Hajji Firuz (26) danced and sang. From 8:50 to10:28 M.
Happy Nowruz Sign passed by with dance and joyful music. In 10:34 M. “ Arash the Archer” (27) that is a heroic Persian oral tradition and folklore is shown. From 11:16 one of the Persian ethnic group- Turkmen (28) people danced and showed off. From 12:19 to 2:24 M.in second video is Flag- shown, includes Persian (29), Forouhar(30) and Derafsh-kaviani(31).
The second video from 2:04 to 3:51 M. another Persian ethnic group- Armenian (32) marched. From 4:11 to 6:03, Sponsor groups and Persian school’s children showed their attendance. From 6:04 to 6:43 M. the sing of Persian Gulf (33) and bandari dance (34) went on. From 7:37- 8:14, we can watch Kurdish dance and music (35). From 8:16- 8:38,
One of the Rumi’s poem (36- 37) is recited. From 13:50- 15:30, we can get familiar with National Persian Sort- Bastani Sport (38). From 15:35- 17:24, Azari music & dance is shown.