Legislator Birnbaum recognizes Persian New Year

Legislator Birnbaum recognizes Persian New Year

Nassau County Legislator Ellen Birnbaum welcomed guests to the county’s second annual observance of Norooz, the Persian New Year, in the legislative chamber on Tuesday, March 19. Norooz, which translates to “new day,” is an ancient Zoroastrian holiday celebrated by Iranians of all faiths during the Spring Equinox and is symbolic of the end and renewal. Birnbaum became the first legislator on Long Island to recognize Norooz when she inaugurated the practice last year.

“It is so important, especially in this climate when we hear too often about hatred and divisiveness in communities, to celebrate together and embrace our cultural differences,” Birnbaum said. “It is wonderful for us to recognize this holiday which symbolizes renewal and growth. We all move forward and learn from one another. We grow as individuals and we grow as a community. The Persian community in Nassau County has been growing in numbers and in strength.”

The annual gathering was especially profound because it occurred shortly after the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, an uprising which led Iranians of all faiths to seek refuge and freedom in America.

“My grandparents and parents arrived as new immigrants at the time, and I am proud to be a first-generation Iranian American,” said Josephine Mairzadeh, legislative aide to Birnbaum. “Today, we regard this period in our community’s history as a crossroad, now left behind us, with one very important lesson: When one day finishes, a new day begins.”

The program included a performance featuring vocalists Ghazal Mizrahi and Sherry Sharifian, pianist Oswaldo Machado, and Dr. Avraham Dilmanian on the Santur, as well as the recitation of poems highlighting Iranian culture and history. Rebecca Sassouni, president of the Sephardic Heritage Alliance, Inc., described the symbolic meaning of each item on the haft-sin ceremonial table, a focal point of Norooz observances. In addition, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Nassau County Police Department Commissioner Patrick Ryder were among the evening’s featured speakers.

Legislator Birnbaum’s Norooz observance was presented with support from SHAI, the Iranian Mothers Association, the United Mashadi Jewish Community of America, and the Ester Chapter of Hadassah.

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