(AA) – Nearly a thousand people gathered in Alexandria, Virginia to celebrate Nowruz, the beginning of spring, on Sunday.
Crowds mainly from neighboring states gathered at John Carlyle Square Park in Alexandria and marked the Persian New Year celebration on a sunny spring day.
Mainly Iranian people met in the sunny afternoon with their families and danced on Iranian music and songs.
While Iranian food and artwork were available for sale at the event, families sat on the grass and enjoyed the occasion.
Nowruz is proclaimed as a day to promote peace and solidarity, and marks the first day of spring and the renewal of nature.
Nowruz was included in the Representative List of the Intangible Culture Heritage of Humanity in 2009 by UNESCO.
The celebration, which promotes harmony and unity among generations, has its roots in Ancient Iran. Various myths exist for Nowruz in Iranian mythology.
“Despite being far from home, enjoying the Nowruz here in United States,” said 24-year-old Ali Azizi, who is studying at John Hopkins University.
“Sun is the same sun we all see regardless of wherever we are in the world. We all breathe the same air, which is the meaning of the day,” he said.
Nowruz Day is celebrated in Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan. It is a public holiday in Iran, Iraq, Georgia, Armenia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Kurdish people in Iraq and Turkey also celebrate it.