Celebration of Norouz
On Friday the 16th of March, students of Meadow Homes Elementary School and their parents gathered to celebrate Norouz at the school in Concord, California. Marked by the Spring equinox, Norouz is a celebration of the new year that is celebrated in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and parts of Iraq and India.
This event was organized by ARTogether, Jewish Family and Community Service of East Bay and Meadow Homes Elementary School located in Concord, California.
The event commenced as people started mingling by a table of refreshments, which consisted of traditional treats, like the seven-fruit drink that is made with raisin water, which is a traditional Afghan food for Norouz. Sooner or later, there were around 40 students and 40 adults packed the school cafeteria.
ARTogether provided artistic activities for the children and the parents. A large piece of paper was sprawled out onto a large table for the children to draw on with crayons. The children started scribbling their creations. Soon, happy faces, houses, and stars started populating the paper. The boys started drawing Afghanistan’s flag out of pride for their culture and their roots. As the other children were becoming more and more engrossed in their doodles, two other girls drew three-by-three grids and played tic-tac-toe.
ARTogether also provided some fun face-painting for the children as well. The line started quickly, as the girls were eagerly awaiting their turn. The boys then followed suit. The girls were requesting rainbows, hearts, stars, some whiskers, and clovers (most likely to celebrate St. Patrick's Day as well) to be drawn on their faces. The boys were all requesting the Afghani flag to be painted on their cheeks to wear their pride in their culture. When the children were asked about what they thought about their face paint, their responses were “Yes, I like it!”
While the children were drawing on the table, the parents, and some children, started drawing on a large piece of cloth that was hanging on the wall. Some of the parents were wishing everybody a happy new year, while others mirrored the doodling that the children were doing on the paper.
Then, the organizers of the event started speaking to the room and introduced a video about what Norouz is all about. After the video was over, children were still eager to get their face painted, and to get some doodles on the paper and the cloth hanging on the wall.
Parents and other adults praised the event by saying “It's beautiful! The turn-out is great!” and “It's fantastic. This is the first time that there has been a celebration of Norouz here... I hope it can raise awareness of the Afghan population and the Afghan culture of the Bay Area.”. They expressed that the event made them feel “a sense of home”. Another person said that, “It was a great time! I got the opportunity to learn and be able to service the students...” and that the event was “inclusive of other families. I think that's really great!” because there were not just West Asian or Middle Eastern people at the event, as there were people from all cultures and walks of life at the event as well.