Monday, March 31, 2014

Kurdish New Year in Los Angeles-2014  29.3.2014 
Dr Amir Sharifi  

Photo: Dr. Amir Sharifi/ • Read more by Dr. Amir Sharifi 
March 29, 2014

LOS ANGELES,—  The Kurdish community of Southern California (KCSC) presented the annual Kurdish New Year festivities held from dusk to midnight in Lakewood Senior Center in Irvine on March 23, 2014. Hundreds of families had journeyed to the event from near and afar for reunion to celebrate the ancient festival of spring.

The guests intimately exchanged the popular Newroz greetings “Newruzat piroz be!” “Happy New Year!” as they made good wishes for each other and their families in the New Year. Throughout the night the air was filled with the feelings of hope, triumphs, and renewal. A table covered with colorful flowers and Kurdish artifacts had been used to decorate the hall. Many men, women, and children had dressed up in elaborate colorful Kurdish costumes. Mr.Dyari Ahmad and Mrs. Soraya Fallah, the president and vice president of KCSC, respectively commenced the event by welcoming the audience in Kurdish and English, stressing the importance of unity and how the ancient festival serves as a reminder of our bond with nature and our struggle for freedom. Ms. Cklara Moradian, a young Kurdish writer and poet and Mr. Kamangar, a young Kurdish TV host co-hosted the auspicious national day.

The program featured Barham Hasan, a Kurdish vocalist from Texas, who sang mostly rhythmic dance music, accompanied by the Kurdish American musician Dilan Hamawandy. Although there was no customary bonfire, two candles symbolically heralded the New Year. Vibrant music from different regions of Kurdistan ignited the night as the joyful guests spontaneously joined expanding circles of dancers, showcasing the kaleidoscope of colors and power of the Kurdish heritage. Mr. Ardishir Rashidi, the founder of the Kurdish American Education Society briefly explained the astrological, cultural, and historical origins of the tradition of Newruj and its symbolic significance for the Kurdish identity, suggesting the term" Newruj” to replace Newroz, its Persian equivalent.

Amir Sharifi encouraged the attendees to participate in a survey of the Kurdish communities, which was launched a few months ago with help from Zaniar Moradian. Most attendees young and old enthusiastically accepted to participate in the survey. KCSC also distributed its own membership forms and asked the attendees for their comments on the program. The guests feasted on a variety of and Mediterranean dishes. For children under 12, their favorite part of the program was when they were called on stage and given cash as their New Year present. To add to the excitement, raffles were also drawn and several prizes were offered to the winners at different intervals. The energetic and elegant dance of women, men, and children hand in hand in colorful outfits was an impressive sight to behold, a befitting end to a successful festival.

Dr. Amir Sharifi
President of the Kurdish American Education Society-Los Angeles

- Dr Amir Sharifi, is the president of the Kurdish American Education Society KAES, Los Angeles, California and Lecturer at California State University, Long Beach. Director of the Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group ( KHRAG).

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