Every year Iranians celebrate the thirteenth day of the Persian New Year, called Sizdeh-bedar, by gathering in parks and spending the day in
the nature. This is one of the most festive and popular celebrations among Iranians all over the world. This day
is a national holiday in Iran. However, those of us who live outside Iran, celebrate it on the weekend that is closest to the
thirteeneth day of the year. In the last seventheen years, Iranians have gathered in large groups in city parks of all major
metropolitan cities in U.S. and Euroupe for the celebration. Sizdeh-bedar has become more than an ancient tradition for many of us. it is a day where we come together and
celebrate our heritage.
This year Sizdeh-bedar coincided with Wednesday, April 2, 1997. Some chose to celebrate this day on the prior weekend. However, the majority
of Iranians who live abroad celebrated this day on Sunday, April 6, 1997. As always,The largest gathering of Iraninans outside Iran took place in William R.
Mason Regional Park in Irvine, California, U.S. More than twenty thousands Iranians came and spent the day by eating
traditional Persian food such as Ash-e reshteh, Baghali polo, Sabzi polo and barbecued Kabob. Some of the
people dressed up in traditional Persian clothing representing different regions of Iran. You could hear and see people of
all ages singing and dancing to the tune of Persian music. The young people were playing group sports and games.
There were demonstrations of the traditional Iranian martial art (Varzesh-e Bastani). In the background, you could
hear the sound of the dice bouncing from the surface of the backgammon boards. In the midst of all these, a low flying
plane pulling a large banner approached the park slowly. As it got closer, you could see the banner
which read "HAPPY PERSIAN NEW YEAR FROM WWW.IRANONLINE.COM (714) 963-2050". For the next thirty
minutes the plane flew over the park. it then continued flying to various parts of Orange and Los
Angeles counties. This caused more excitement and joy. Some people started shouting "Long live Iran" and some clapped and
started screaming out of joy and pride.
This was a new event. For the first time ever, the name of Iran and Persia was flown over one of the major cities in the
Western Hemisphere. This was our way of wishing our fellow Iranians a happy New Year while informing the residence of
Southern California of Persian New year.
Celebrating Sizdeh-bedar has become an important tradition. It symbolizes the desire of remaining Iranian and believing in the best of Persian
traditions by many of us. We at Iran Online cherish this tradition and celebrate it with our fellow Iraninans.