San Antonians welcome a new year — and new hope — on the first day of spring
The first day of spring highlights the international culture of San Antonio as some residents mark the dawn of a new year.
Mojgan Panah moved from Iran to Texas 39 years ago, and along with many others, she celebrates the Persian New Year this week.
“The Persian New Year is celebrated with the first day of spring," she explained. "It's an ancient custom [that goes] back to the time of the Zoroastrians in Iran and ancient Persia. ... And not just Persians. Iranians celebrate this New Year, which we call Nowruz.”
Panah said that Iranians and many others have celebrated the new year like this for more than 3,000 years — and it’s not celebrated on a single day.
“For 13 days we celebrate this New Year. And we're supposed to be with loved ones and put aside all differences,” she said. “We're supposed to embrace each other and just enjoy spring and this beautiful rebirth of the season and new beginnings.”
She added that it's a holiday that's not tied to religion or politics.
“Spring itself is a time for rebirth. And so with it comes our New Year and hopefully new beginnings for everyone."
Panah said the celebratory season began with a prologue of reflection and ceremony.
“Traditionally what we celebrated last week was the last Tuesday of the year where we gather again with family. We create a bonfire, we jump over the fire, and we have a saying that we recite,” she said. “We give to the fire all of our illnesses and the negativity of the past year. And we take from the fire its strength and its power and its beauty for the New Year.”
Panah said the City of San Antonio is also marking the holiday.
“For the first time in San Antonio's history, we have a proclamation claiming today stating that today is officially Persian New Year Day.”
For more information about the Persian New Year, click here.