MEDOWIE is a long way from Iran, but for one local family, the annual Persian New Year is an ideal opportunity to celebrate their traditional culture.
On entering the house, a visitor is greeted by a table set up with a table of traditional items that act as good wishes for the year ahead.
The traditional Iranian festival of spring, Nowruz, is known as the start of the New Year for Iranians and other peoples who celebrate the Persian New Year such as Iraq, India, and Afghanistan.
The start of the New Year also signals the end of the dreary winter.
Although not spring in Australia at this time of the year, the cultural element of the celebration is important for Iranians who live outside of their home country.
Medowie resident Mr Nima Nikfarjam told Medowie News Of The Area, “I still like to have my tradition, to have my kids learn a bit of my original culture.”
“Knowing where their father comes from is important.”
In the region, the Australian Iranian Community of Newcastle celebrated on Saturday, 11 March at Civic Park.
Although the activities were fewer than previous years, there was still excitement about the event with food stalls, activities for children, and entertainment for the people in attendance.
Mr Nikfarjam said, “At this event, Iranians, Afghans, Kurds, Turks and whoever celebrates Nowruz get together and dance, sing, and eat.”
“My family and I have participated in last year’s event and it was a good day.”
The celebration also includes visiting relatives, receiving gifts, singing and dancing, prayer, spring cleaning the house known as ‘khoneh takooni’ or ‘shaking the house’.
Mr Nikfarjam added, “Families meticulously wash rugs, windows, curtains and repair furniture.”
“They throw out or donate old household goods and purchase new clothing to greet the coming spring.”
In addition, going outdoors for picnics is a big part of the celebrations, and is an opportunity for families to congregate.
Spending time outdoors is a major focus for the festival as it is, after all, a celebration of spring.
By Heather SHARP