Monday, March 31, 2008

Seezdeh BeDar, Sizdeh Bedar, Dodging the 13th day of Persian New Year in Balboa Park, Los Angeles

On the thirteenth day of the Persian new year, which also marks the end of the Nowrooz break for the school children, families leave their houses and head for the outdoors where they eat, play games, and celebrate a happy and healthy holiday season.

This tradition is called Seezdah Bedar, 13 Bedar (seezdah means thirteen) which in English translates to "getting rid of thirteen". This fun and exciting outing involves all family members and is intended to end the holiday season on a relaxing and positive note. The concept of avoiding the number thirteen is mainly to symbolize the will and power to deal with all evil in the new year.

The two weeks long NoRooz celebration ends with SeezDeh Bedar. SeezDeh means Thirteen and SeezDeh Bedar is the process of getting over with or passing over the thirteenth day of the New Year. (Some believe 13 being an unlucky number)

This day is usually celebrated outdoor in a picnic style. This is the last day of Persian New Year celebration and life will return to normal the following day. Schools will open in Iran, shops will start on their regular hours and offices and Government agencies are back in normal operation. So, this is the last chance to spend some time with family and friends and enjoy the fresh smell of Spring.

Sizdah-Bedar is also believed to be a special day to ask for rain. In ancient Iran, every day had its own name, and belonged to a different angel. The 13th of Farvardin belonged to the angel of rain. This angel is depicted as a horse. Sizdah-Bedar is also a day for competitive games. Games involving horses were often chosen as a victory of a horse represented , the angle of rain.

On this day, girls & boys tie a knot with grass and make wishes perhaps for a husband or wife. When the knot is opened (it is beleived that) their luck will open and their wishes will come true. Newly weds also tie a grass knot making wishes for a baby, a house, or whatever is on their Have-To-Have list.

We all went to Balboa Lake and Park, north of Los Angeles where thousands of Iranians gathered to spend a few hours in the nature. Many booths provided the crowd with Persian food, sweet, drinks and handicrafts. The mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa also attended the festival and delivered a short speech after welcoming everybody and saying happy new year in Farsi, the Persian language. You can see him in two of the photos with light blue shirt and jeans.

There were several Iranian singers and comedians who performed. The festival started from 10:00 am and ended 7:30 pm. Every body had fun. There were many non-Iranian guests as well who joined their Iranian friends. People were there from all walks of life and age. You can notice this from the pictures posted here. The police was very cooperative and handled the traffic and every thing perfectly. Thank to Los Angeles and San Fernando valley Police Department. Last year, Sheriff Baca who commands the largest Sheriff’s Department in the United States also attended our celebration. Roberto, an Iranian event manager who has years of experience in organizing events like this organized this wonderful one of a kind Persian festival.

Khosrow Sobhe


No comments: