Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


Iranians in San Diego celebrate the Persian New Year

Monday, March 20, was no ordinary day. It was the first day of spring — but for millions of people around the world it’s extra special. It's the day millions celebrated a new year, the Persian New Year, called Nowruz.

Mehdi Moein and his family just welcomed the new year. He said the celebration is almost two weeks long. "We are going to be receiving the new year with hopes for prosperity and health, (and) better days for Iranians all over the world and in particular people inside Iran," he said.

Moein is on the advisory board of the House of Iran in Balboa Park. He said the celebration does not include religious ceremonies, but the message is universal and represented in the traditional table set for the joyful event of Nowruz.


"There are seven items at least on this table and each one have meaning in our tradition and culture," he said. "Coins in Persian are 'sekkeh,' that signifies prosperity ... this grass that is growing that is health ... the apple is a sign of prosperity," he said. And because it’s also a springtime celebration, there are items representing new life — like eggs.

This year, Moein said, many families will include something new at the table: the words woman, life, and freedom, to symbolize the resistance movement for women’s freedom in Iran.

"It matters to them," he said. "The three items in that mission statement, if you would, basically signifies the importance of a woman, of course life and life without a woman would not be possible and of course freedom," he said, adding, "the optimism in Iranians will never die."

He said just before the exact moment when day and night are equal or 12 hours long, everyone gathers around the table. "And at the time that the year turns which will be at 2:25 (p.m.) today, everyone will joyfully greet one another."

Mehdi and Mary Moein celebrate Newruz at their home.
Mehdi Moein
Mehdi Moein
Mehdi and Mary Moein celebrate Newruz at their home.

He said gifts are given and lots of wishes of prosperity are shared including, "Nowruz Pirooz".


"Now going forward in the next 13 days, every day there will be visits, there will be gathering," he said adding that on the last day the greenery brought in will be thrown out preferably by a river or stream along with the bad luck. "With the hopes that the sorrow, the sadness, is taken away and better days will be guaranteed for all of us ."

His wife Mary Moein shared her wishes from their home as they were about to start their celebration. "Happy Nowruz to all of American and Iranian people," she said. "I truly appreciate being here in this country and we are so blessed and I hope that everything goes excellent for everyone in this coming year," she said wearing traditional red and green and a flower crown.

Her wish was echoed by her husband. "Happy Nowruz all the Iranians across the globe, we wish all of you and all of us and humanity in general peace, prosperity and most importantly freedom."

The House of Iran will have a celebration to mark the holiday on Sunday, March 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m with food, music and dancing from 2 to 4 p.m.