The Turkic community bonds over Nowruz celebration


Nihal Karim

Traditional items were laid out on tables.

Nihal Karim, Staff Writer

Laughter, dance, and music envelop the room on a warm March afternoon.

More people start to show up, all with the purpose of celebrating Nowruz — the beginning of spring.

Nowruz, meaning “New Day,” is an ancient Zoroastrian holiday that is commonly celebrated among people of Turkic origin.

This year, the Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Northern California (ACSNC) organized one of the Nowruz celebrations in order to celebrate the holiday with other community members.

“This is the second time we are all celebrating Nowruz together. Every community usually celebrates separately, and we wanted to change that,” said Ulduz Azar, one of the organizers. “Instead of having an event just for Azerbaijani people, or just for people from a specific country, we want to continue building alliances with other community members.”

During the event, people from countries like Turkey, Tatarstan, and Kazakhstan set up tables in order to share their traditions with others. These tables included a variety of traditional items, ranging from colorful clothing to food, such as candy.

As the celebration went on, country representatives showed off their national clothing, ethnic dances, and music.

“Food, music, and dance bring people together,” Azar said. “Every culture has different variations of those, and when we all share our traditions, it builds up culture and cultural knowledge.”

While Nowruz is not a commonly known holiday in the Bay Area, many still feel like it is important to celebrate it.

“I think it is really important to celebrate Nowruz. The U.S. is a diverse place, but there is no recognition for our holidays and our culture. If  no one is going to give us recognition, then we should do it ourselves and be proud of our traditions,” said Ilhan Sadri, president of the American Turko Tatar Association.

Furthermore, others have found other reasons as to why it is important to celebrate the holiday.

“I think Nowruz definitely brings closer not only people, but countries too, since it is the only holiday in our area that multiple nations celebrate.” said Saleh Hassanzadehyamehi, a performer. “I also think that we should keep celebrating it, because if we don’t, it will be forgotten by future generations.”

With its many traditions and customs, Nowruz allows people of Turkic origin to bond and learn more about each other’s cultures, no matter their ethnic background.

“We really have an open door policy,” Sadri said. “People show up and we put a cup of tea in front of them.”