Jewish Journal

No Rooz celebrations this year source of pride and joy for L.A.’s Iranian Americans

by Karmel Melamed

March 29, 2011 | 3:18 pm

For the last seven years Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas has been one of the few local elected officials who has championed the recognition of “No Rooz” or the secular Persian New Year at L.A.’s City Hall. This year’s honoring of No Rooz on March 18th by Cardenas and the L.A. City Council was no different and drew more than 100 local Iranian Americans of various faiths to officially mark the new year with a proclamation and a dessert reception afterwards. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaragosia was also on hand to address the council and acknowledge the leadership of countless Iranian Americans working in city government and contributing to the continued growth of the city’s business. Cardenas’ embracing of No Rooz and the local Iranian American community is indeed unique as he has very few if any Iranian Americans living in his district. City officials should be applauded for honoring No Rooz which not only marks the beginning of Spring but also encourages a sense of harmony, mutual respect and love among all peoples. No where else but Los Angeles, which has so many different immigrant communities is the message of No Rooz more important.

The following is a brief message on video I captured of Cardenas sharing his No Rooz thoughts with local Iranian Americans at L.A.’s City Hall:

Here are some of my photos of the L.A. City Hall No Rooz celebrations…

(left to right; L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaragosia acknowledging L.A. City Councilman Tony Cardenas for honoring No Rooz at L.A. City Hall on March 18, 2011, photo by Karmel Melamed)
L.A. Convention Center’s Iranian American General Manager, Pouria Abassi addressing the City Council during the No Rooz celebrations, photo by Karmel Melamed.
(left to right, Iranian American businessman Michael Delijani and L.A. City Controller Wendy Gruel, photo by Karmel Melamed)
Los Angeles’ official proclaimation of No Rooz 2011
(left to right; L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Mario Trujillo, Celine Cordero L.A. Deputy Mayor of Legislative & Political Affairs and Iranian American attorney A. David Yosefeyeh, photo by Karmel Melamed)














Likewise on March 27th, the No Rooz festivities in Los Angeles continued with Persian food, music, dancing and live media broadcasts from Westwood Village’s “Persian Square”. The gathering that drew more than 1,000 local Iranians was organized by local Iranian American businessmen and Westwood’s “unofficial Iranian mayor” Alex Helmi, who over the years have been pushing to have a public honoring of No Rooz. Likewise countless city and state officials including L.A. City Council members Paul Koretz and Dennis Zine were on hand for the celebrations as well as L.A. City Controller Wendy Gruel and California Secretary of State Debra Bowen. More than a dozen Iranian radio and satellite television programs were broadcasting at the venue while local Iranians enjoyed cultural foods and music.

The following is a video I captured of the No Rooz “haf seen” table which contains many of the symbolic items Iranians put on display in celebration of the new year….

Here are some of my photos of the No Rooz festivities in Westwood Village this year…

Iranian TV entertainment reporter broadcasting live from Persian Square.
(left to right; Iranian American businessman and publisher Bijan Khalili and Los Angeles Police officer Jafari, photo by Karmel Melamed)
(left to right; L.A. City Councilmember, Paul Koretz and Iranian American Beverly Hills Commissioner Joe Shooshani, photo by Karmel Melamed)
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Karmel Melamed is an internationally-published freelance journalist based in Southern California.

Since 2000, Melamed has specialized in covering the growing influential...

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