Nowruz table setting

A Haft sin table at the Freer|Sackler's annual Nowruz celebration

Celebrating the Persian New Year

Ten years ago, the Freer|Sackler decided to celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year. Our goals were relatively modest. We arranged a beautiful Haft sin table to greet our visitors. We invited Mamak Khadem and her band to play traditional songs and Xanthe Gresham and Arash Moradi to tell stories from the Persian Book of Kings. We planned to entertain our young audiences with various hands-on activities. The popular chef Najmieh Batmanglij would offer traditional Persian delicacies.

It was a warm and sunny early spring day, a good omen for the event. We expected about six hundred or so visitors; by 1 pm, however, we had over two thousand! Just in time for lunch, we had run out of food and were busy improvising snacks in the back rooms of the Freer. Some staff members had to run to the copy machines to print programs for the steady flow of visitors, while others had to look for additional colored paper and glue for the hands-on activities. In other words, it was a little chaotic, but the day was festive and successful beyond our imagination.

Xanthe Gresham captivates her audience with stories from the Book of Kings.
Xanthe Gresham captivates her audience with stories from the Book of Kings.

Ten years later, we continue to celebrate Nowruz. We look forward to welcoming you to the Freer|Sackler this Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm for storytelling, calligraphy, hands-on art activities, and more. And we promise there will be enough food!

Nowruz: A Persian New Year Celebration is made possible by the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Persian Cultural Celebrations Fund.

Massumeh Farhad

Massumeh Farhad is the Freer|Sackler's chief curator and the Ebrahimi Family Curator of Persian, Arab, and Turkish Art.

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  • Nowruz, the Persian New Year is one of the best Persian Cultural Celebrations. Amazing Info , Thanks for this beautiful article.

  • congratulations on your successful event. For your imagination, creativity and results. And if over two thousand turned up-its a big event. To run and monitor it, requires skills. Best of luck with your future projects!! 🙂

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