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De Anza hosts a celebration of the holiday on campus, included faculty, students, family
People around the Afghani food table at the Nowruz celebration, on Monday, March 11.

Editor’s Note: Captions of two photos were changed to add more accuracy to the cultural elements of the celebration. A secondary headline was also added to specify what the article is about. Updated March 14, 4:21 p.m.

On Monday, March 11, De Anza College hosted its first Nowruz celebration in college history.

Nowruz marks the arrival of spring and a new year for several countries in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and millions of people around the world. Hosted by International Student Programs, the celebration was held in Conference Rooms A and B in the Hinson Campus Center from noon to 3 p.m. A lot of students and faculty, as well as their relatives, joined this traditional holiday celebration.

According to the United Nations, it’s one of the oldest holidays in the world and is usually celebrated on March 21. It is celebrated as the beginning of the new year in the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, as well as by 300 million people around the world.

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Representatives of various ethnic groups including Iranians, Turks, Georgians, Afghanis, Kyrgyzs and Bashkirs attended the event to pay tribute to their heritage.

Manija Ansari, ISP counselor and coordinator of the event, who is from Afghanistan, talked about the purpose of hosting the event on campus:

“Many of our students come from different cultures. and they bring their rich traditions, cultures, and languages to embrace the diversity, but also help students to feel included in our De Anza society,” Ansari said.

Students got a chance to socialize: perform, dance, talk, and make new friends, regardless of their ethnicity.

Adinai Madumarova, 18, a dental hygiene major, played the komuz, a traditional Kyrgyz instrument, dressed in a white dress and green vest.

After Adinai’s performance, another student from Kyrgyzstan, Fatima Akimbekova, 19, a business administration major, performed traditional Kyrgyz dance, which included elements of spinning, twisting wrists and drawing an ornament in the air.

Activities also included henna painting from Iranian and Indian students, as well as the food table with sweets, nuts, and pastries from different countries. Visitors could try fruit, green and black tea; Nowruz in America offers a chance to showcase community while sharing its culture with others.

“On March 1, we celebrate the rebirth of nature. (The celebration) includes rituals, like jumping through the fire and we still do it for fun,” Aura Ozturk, 19, a computer science major from Turkey said. “We usually go to our relatives, prepare tea, food, sweets and enjoy time spent together.”

“It’s very important to celebrate Nowruz because it’s (the celebration of) new year for Kyrgyz people, a day of spring equinox. Me and my friends came here to represent our republic,” Aitenir Kanatbekov, 19, a computer engineering major from Kyrgyzstan said. Kanatbekov attended the event with his friends.

“We brought together different cultures of the United States, who share similar traditions and celebrate Nowruz in different ways and also introduce it for those who are not familiar with the culture,” Mariam Ebrat, Cross Cultural Partners Programm coordinator, said.

Nazy Galoyan, dean of enrollment services, represented Georgia and said that it’s important to celebrate this holiday because it unites people in this difficult time.

“In my country, Nowruz (is) celebrated on March 20. When you translate ‘Nowruz’ from (Farsi), it means ‘new day,’ ‘new hope’ and ‘new beginning,’” Galoyan said. “It’s an ancient celebration, completely free from politics and religion. I think it’s something we need in today’s world to come closer to each other.”

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About the Contributor
Sabrina Kulieva
Sabrina Kulieva, Staff Reporter
Hi, my name is Sabrina. La Voz is a new chapter of my life; I hope it will help me stay more informed about events in the world and maybe even find my place in it.

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