Persian dancers celebrate the Nowruz Festival last year in Tysons Corner Center.
Photo by Ali Khaligh/The Connection
Following 3,000 years of customs and traditions, the colorful Nowruz Festival — the Persian New Year celebration — will be held Sunday, March 17, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Tysons Corner Center. The free event attracts 20,000 visitors who come for the music, dance, dramatic performances, shopping at the Bazaar, and costumed characters roaming the festival.
Nowruz, which normally falls in early spring, is when Persian-Americans will join locally to celebrate the new year. The festival was previously held at the Reston Town Center and the John Carlyle Square Park in Alexandria.
According to organizer Shohreh Asemi, what’s new this year is a larger and taller stage that will accommodate musicians, vocalists, dancers, DJs, artists, costumed characters, and traditional players. The entertainment begins at 11 a.m.
She said they will have around 50 tents offering jewelry, books, artwork, crafts, and other traditional Persian products. Three tents will introduce Persian culture and two tents are just for kids to have fun. In addition, there will be lots of tasty food sold by a variety of food trucks. There will also be a raffle for two airline tickets by Turkish Airlines. Asemi said the Nowruz Festival has been voted Best Cultural Festival for D.C. by the Washington City Paper’s readers in year’s past.
THE NOWRUZ FESTIVAL is a free, family-friendly, fun event that celebrates life, love and good will. Of all the Persian national festivals, the New Year celebrations are at once the most important and the most colorful.
The venue provides a fun place for people to celebrate with family and friends, to taste Persian food and enjoy traditional and modern Persian entertainment. Among the traditions is a ceremonial table called the cloth of seven dishes (each one beginning with the Persian letter Sin). The symbolic dishes consist of Sabzeh or sprouts, usually wheat or lentil, representing rebirth. Another is Samanu or a sweet, creamy pudding. There’s Senjed, the sweet, dry fruit of the Lotus tree, which represents love. And another is Seer, which is garlic in Persian, representing medicine.
In addition to attracting people from Virginia, Maryland and the District, organizers hope to attract international guests from other countries that celebrate Nowruz, including Turkey, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, among others.
THE GOAL is to share the Nowruz Festival with both Persians and non-Persians. The event sends out positive messages, like celebrating earth, spring time, love and peace to the community. Planners want to bring different musicians and dancers from other countries that celebrate Nowruz, as well as new musicians that offer more variety. They also want to bring different historical and costumed characters from Persia (like Haji Firuz, a traditional herald of Nowruz dressed in a red costume and tambourine) that interacts with the crowd.
The 2019 Nowruz Festival will be held Sunday, March 17, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Tysons Corner Center, 8100 Tysons Corner Center, McLean. For more information, visit the website at http://nowruzfestival.org. Or contact organizer Shohreh Asemi at 202-369-1515 or email Shohreh directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.