By Professor David N.
Photos by A. Habibian
By Professor David N.
The Second annual Persian-Iranian Parade, sponsored by
the non-profit public Persian-Iranian Parade Foundation (PIPF), held along
fifteen blocks of Madison Avenue in
An educational pamphlet, distributed in the crowd that
described the historical aspects of celebrating Nowruz the Persian New Year, a brief
"We trust the parade will facilitate the process by which our second and third generation children remain proud of their cultural heritage and thus committed to carry the [torch] in the
" In lieu of a few obstacles imposed on the planning of
this parade by isolated cynic individuals in the community, what impressed me
the most was the cordial and cooperative sense of broad team-spirit that moved
everyone-from the seniors to the juniors in our community--forward," Said Dr.
Sam Davoodi who coordinated the parade.
Another parade coordinator, Afshin Tajian, a vibrant
young man, was most thrilled to note that this was the first time at least in
the past several decades, where Iranians of all walks of life, regardless of
their religious or ethnic orientations, had gathered to celebrate one common
theme, Nowruz!" He further elaborated by saying that
The parade had two themes:
It displayed the historical role the Iranians (Persians) have played in the advancement of human civilization from as far back as 5,000+ years ago. The parade also showcased the more contemporary face of
"I truly enjoyed the parade as it taught me to have a
more positive perception of the [
"Notwithstanding the political impediments in our native land, it's about time that we were able to celebrate our rich and diverse cultural heritage, while aspiring to see a homegrown sustainable reform that our compatriots back home can truly enjoy," opined Dr. Mahshid Arfania Assadi, a long time Cardiologist in New York City who has also served along with her husband, a renowned surgeon, among the founding members.
It is envisaged that the NY Persian-Iranian parade will be emulated by many other Iranian Communities worldwide.
The parade organizers are already into the planning mode for next year's event. As such they envisage a larger and more colorful parade that requires ever increasing participation of ALL community members throughout the year. "The parade belongs to ALL Iranians worldwide, and as such is not an exclusive club belonging to one individual," Jamshid Irani, a NYC based attorney observed.
Accordingly, the broadly based transparent Parade Planning Committee of the PIPF is cordially asking those civic leaders interested to periodically visit the Website www.persianparade.org and call 1-888-PARADE-9 at once for the upcoming planning events.
Background on Nowruz and
The Nowruz Festival is immortalized in
the Decree of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Achaemenid Empire,
granting national and religious freedoms to the peoples of
"When I entered
....Thus said the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose
right hand I have holden (Isaiah,
The Iranian Nowruz, meaning the new day or the
New Year, is the cyclical celebration of the Spring/Vernal Equinox, as the most cherished
and celebrated of all Iranian festivals. The Nowruz has been observed by all
peoples of the Iranian plateau and the territories surrounding classical
Historically speaking, back in 1821 a young Englishman, following his passion for unearthing the lost world of the ancient east, came upon a peculiar monument in the heart of the Iranian plateau. He wrote in his diary:
The very venerable appearance of this historical ruin instantly awed me. I found I had no right conception of it. I sat for near an hour on the steps contemplating it until the moon rose on it, and I began to think that this, in reality, must be the tomb of the best, the most illustrious, and the most interesting of Oriental sovereigns.
The resting place of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the
Achaemenid Empire in 550 BC had been identified. This was followed by the
identification of ancient Passargädae, the capital of the Empire, in the nearby
plain. The few sources on Cyrus portrayed him not just as an empire builder, but
a man possessing rare qualities, deeply rooted in his ancestral sportsmanship of
horseback riding, mobility, an appreciation of the earth bounties, cultural
diversity of humanity and celestial objects in the sky. In the Bible (Old
Testament) for instance, the Book of Ezra tells of Cyrus's liberating the
scattered Jews of Babylon, restoring their temple which had been destroyed by
Assyrian king Nabopolassar. Cyrus invited the scattered Jews back to
Iranian (from the Satem branch of the Indo-European) Medean and Persian
tribes had settled in the Iranian plateau from about the eleventh century
B.C. This plateau has always been
regarded as a crossroad between East and West for cultural, scientific, and
technological discourse. The name
Cyrus's ultimate dream of unifying nations from south
Asia to Asia Minor and
In recent times, although there have been sporadic
numbers of Iranians who have immigrated to Europe and North America starting in
the 19th century, a mass exodus has occurred since the 70's due to political
changes in Iran. There are an estimated three million Iranians living
abroad today. According to the US census and other independent think
tanks, the Americans of Iranian ancestry are among the most educated and the
most affluent communities in the US, and have substantially contributed to the
US economy in the hundreds of billions of dollars, and thus immeasurably to the
US quality of life. For instance, one can hardly find an American university or
college, medical, business or civil sector, or artistic area where Iranian-
Americans are not well represented. The Iranian-American Community of one
million strong is found in every corner of the
... Payvand News - 3/23/05 ... --