Jewish Journal

Podcast Exclusive: L.A. Officials Celebrate Persian New Year of “No Ruz”

by Karmel Melamed

April 12, 2009 | 8:13 pm

(left to right; City Councilmember Tony Cardenas
and DWP head H. David Nahai at 2009 No Ruz
gathering at Balboa Park)

Last Sunday April 5th roughly 3,000 Los Angeles area Iranian Americans of various religious backgrounds gathered at Balboa Park in the San Fernando Valley to enjoy “No Ruz” or Persian New Year celebrations with their friends and family. Our podcast program caught up with a number of local elected and appointed city officials who were on hand to celebrate No Ruz with the Iranian community. We caught up with L.A. City Councilmembers Dennis Zine, Jack Weiss, Tony Cardenas as well as City Controller Wendy Gruel and Los Angeles D.W.P. head H. David Nahai on their impressions of the local Iranian American community.

Our podcast can heard here

While our podcast was unable to include Controller Gruel and Councilmember Zine comments due to time limitations, they did chat with me during the celebrations expressing their No Ruz wishes for the local Iranian American community and overall support for what the community has achieved in Los Angeles. For the past six years local city officials have celebrated the secular Persian New Year with a gathering at L.A. City Hall in the Council chambers and at a larger gathering in Balboa Park. The park falls within the council district of Cardenas, who has made the venue available to the local Iranian community for No Ruz events each year. He’s wisely won many supporters from the community with this gesture at a time when other councilmembers were slow to court local Iranian voters several years ago.

The park’s event this year as in years before featured Persian music, popular Iranian singers, unique Iranian foods as well as a whole host of vendors selling their books, clothing and other Persian related memorabilia. Iranian Jews like many other Iranian religious groups celebrate “No Ruz” because they feel it is a part of their long standing cultural identity. In my opinion perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the No Ruz celebrations in Southern California is the sense of harmony and camaraderie Iranians of various faith share with one another. No Ruz every year gives new hope to all Iranians worldwide that peace, tolerance and tranquility will conquer all evil on our planet—this in my opinion is the best message for the holiday.

The following are just a few images I captured from the No Ruz festivities this year at Balboa Park:

Large crowds dancing and singing along to free Persian musical performance in the park



Councilmember Dennis Zine speaking to the crowd at hand during the No Ruz celebration


(left to right; Karmel Melamed interviewing L.A. City Controller Wendy Gruel.
Members of the local Zoroastrian faith on hand to celebrate No Ruz.
Local Iranians enjoy a day in the park with a No Ruz picnic.
Local cook serving traditional Persian vegetable and noodle soup, also known as “Ahh-Shay-Resh-De”.
Eccentric Persian TV host interviewing local young Iranian Americans for his program.
Local Iranian vendors selling their trinkets and things.
Imperial Iranian flags proudly on display.
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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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