Henry Madden Library hosts Nowruz exhibit, celebrates Persian New Year

The traditional Persian New Year table is set up in the Henry Madden Library on March 16, 2019. (Courtesy Negin Tahvildary)

The Henry Madden Library is now showcasing the art exhibit Nowruz, celebrating the Persian New Year on the day of the vernal equinox in the Ellipse Gallery located on the library’s second floor.

Nowruz, also meaning “new day,” is celebrated on March 21 by more than 300 million people around the world, marking the first day of spring and the renewal of nature. It promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families.

“Through this exhibit, we hope that our community’s diversity can be embraced, celebrated and replicated. While we will not agree on some social and religious points, given each faith tradition’s historical path, we can agree that we can work together in so many areas,” said Dr. Negin Tahvildary, a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and advisor for Middle East Studies Cultural Club.

The exhibition on campus is a collaboration between the Middle East Studies Cultural Club and Henry Madden Library, recognizing the International Day of Nowruz and the Persian New Year.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed International Day of Nowruz in its resolution, A/RES/64/25, of 2010 for countries like Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, India, Turkey and more to share this holiday.

Many homes begin by setting up their Haft-Seen table. Haft in Farsi means seven and Seen is the equivalent of the letter “S”. Therefore, the names of the seven essential items on the Haft-Seen table start with the letter “S”.

The items included are Sabzeh [sprouts] representing rebirth, Seeb [apple] represents beauty, Samanu [wheat sprout pudding] represents transformation, Senjed [sweet, dry fruit of the Lotus tree] represents love, Seer [garlic] represents health, Somaq [sumac berries] represents good conquers evil and Serkeh [vinegar] represents patience.

Other symbolic items like a goldfish in a bowl, coins and a mirror are added to the table.

The art exhibit opened on March 18 and will run until April 25, including an open house and reception on March 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“This exhibit means a lot to me because it warms my heart, and it makes me feel as if I am not far from home. We worked hard to set up this exhibit in order to show the beauties of Persian culture to my friends on campus,” said Golnoush Khosravi, President of the Middle East Studies Cultural Club.

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