Chicago’s First Nowruz Parade- “The Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”
By Neda Nabavi, PAAIA Chapter Leader, Chicago
The First Nowruz “Festival of Life” Parade in Chicago went from the Federal Plaza to the State Plaza. Persepolitan Networks of Chicago sponsored the first ever Chicago Nowruz Parade! Mr. Amir Normandi was the man behind the effort. The affair began Nowruz Day, March 20 in time to ring in the New Persian Year 1389 in the heart of downtown Chicago’s Federal Plaza lined with banners dedicated to the 7 elements of the Nowruz display or “Haft Seen.” Chicagoans showed up in the winter-like snow storm to celebrate the New Day regardless of nature’s plans.
“Nowruz” by definition stands for a New Day in the Persian language and in practice is a Celebration of Life. An ancient Iranian tradition that has influenced, and is observed by, many other peoples around the world, Nowruz is now becoming known to the Chicago community at large. Festivities for the New Year have reached this Midwestern city far from the borders of Iran and manifested in an energetic celebration in the heart of the city.
This contemporary version of the ancient festival has no ethnic or religious borders. More specifically, it is as if Nowruz has become the common bond for the cultures of the Silk Road and brought to the streets of Chicago in the form of a parade.
Businesses and not for profit organizations such as Globe Broadcasting, Global All Peace, Kameli & Associates, PAAIA, Rose Catering, Shabeh Jomeh, and the Zoroastrian Association of Chicago, and others participated in this inaugural event.
Each organization flaunted their banners and sang greetings of the Persian New Year to passersby! Shabeh Jomeh representatives handed out gold coins (chocolates), symbolic “eidis” or Nowruz gifts, to everyone they saw, while PAAIA representatives joyously shouted “Nowruz Pirooz,” or, “May the New Day Triumph”.
Spectators stopped, watched, smiled and laughed along with the parade participants! The parade was not massive, but was a great start to a wonderful new Chicago tradition.