Norooz Bazaar

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This annual event has become a tradition among the residents of Southern California. The Norooz Bazaar features a variety of delicious homemade torshis, jams, pastries, haft-seen items and entertainment for children and adults. The attendees are welcomed by a beautiful haft-seen arrangement and a room full of enthusiastic volunteers selling different items. Children are entertained by Haji Firooz and Amoo Norooz, face painting, and arts and crafts, such as haft-seen making and egg decorations. The attendees and their children are encouraged to bring back their filled piggy banks (Ghollaks) and receive their Norooz Eidi.

The Norooz Bazaar is held one week prior to Persian New Year, which coincides with the first day of spring. This year the event was held on March 11th and over 4,000 supporters of ISCC attended the 4th annual Norooz Bazaar and Ghollak Shekan at Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach. Everyone gathered for a common cause, to support underprivileged children with cancer and to celebrate the arrival of Persian New Year.

 

Common Terms

Norooz Bazaar is a fun cultural event for the entire family, but sometimes the terms can get confusing for those who did not grow up celebrating Persian New Year.

Norooz – Norooz translates to “new day” and is celebrated at the beginning of spring each year. It has several acceptable spellings, including Noruz, Nourooz, and others.

Torshis – Torshis are pickled vegetables popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. The name comes from the Persian word for “sour.” There are hundreds of variations of torshi, which can include garlic, carrots, beets, cabbage, shallots, eggplant, and celery pickled with vinegar and spices.

Haft-seen – A ceremonial table setting, haft-seen involves a spread of seven dishes symbolizing heralds of Persian life. For example, a haft-seen table might include vinegar to represent patience, sprouts to represent rebirth, and an apple to represent health. Haft-seen can also include items such as painted eggs, flowers, and coins.

History of Persian New Year

Persian New Year is held at the beginning of spring to symbolize renewal and birth. The holiday was officially named Norooz in 500 BC and directly translates to “new day.” Persian New Year is celebrated in several ways, including spending time with loved ones, giving gifts, and spring cleaning. It’s celebrated all around the world and in countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

What does the Norooz Bazaar entail?

Preparation for the annual spring event begins in January of each year. The cooking of authentic dishes is done right up until the event begins. The Norooz Bazaar is made possible by hundreds of volunteers and the ISCC community – in fact, most of the items that are sold at the Norooz Bazaar are donated by volunteers and local business owners and sponsors. Our supporters also fill other roles for the event, like hosting and entertaining. The support of ISCC has allowed the Norooz Bazaar to grow in popularity each year, and the 2013 event had over 9,000 visitors.

Our visitors frequently state that being at the event makes them feel like they are home in Iran. In addition to gathering support for children with cancer, the event is also a great way to teach children about Middle Eastern cultures and traditions.

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