November 16, 2018

Iranian Americans celebrate Nowruz at California State Assembly

More than 50 Iranian-American community leaders, businessmen and artists of various faiths from across California gathered March 16 at the State Assembly in Sacramento to celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year. 

The festivities were part of an Assembly resolution that was passed unanimously honoring Iranian Americans in California. It was introduced by Assembly member Adrin Nazarian (D-Van Nuys), the first Iranian-born member of the Assembly. 

“It was very important to shed the light on the different residents of California that have gone through difficult circumstances as new immigrants and contributed so much to our city and state,” Nazarian said. “The Iranian community is one of those special communities, and honoring Nowruz, which is celebrated by people of all faiths, was the best way to acknowledge them.”

Nowruz is an ancient Persian secular holiday celebrated by Iranians of all faiths worldwide. It marks the beginning of spring, carrying a message of peace, brotherhood and renewal. This year, it fell on March 21.

Nazarian first began the Assembly’s tradition of recognizing Nowruz last year, as California is home to nearly 1 million Iranians, one of the largest populations outside of Iran. This year, Iranian Americans flocked to the state capital to be a part of the special celebrations. 

“Nowruz is one of those rare holidays which brings Jews, Christians, Muslims and every religion together in harmony — so, for Iranians in California, it is a huge honor for us to get recognized by the state government for our contributions and this holiday,” said Joe Shooshani, an Iranian -Jewish planning commissioner for the city of Beverly Hills.

Los Angeles City Council also officially honored local Iranian Americans by acknowledging Nowruz in the council’s chambers on March 20. And more than 2,500 Iranian Americans gathered at Grand Park in Downtown L.A. the next day to celebrate.