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A few snowflakes couldn’t dampen the spirit of spring as Nowruz, a celebration of the Persian New Year, filled Reston Town Center with the smell of traditional food and the sounds of music. Nowruz has its roots in ancient Iran, and always begins on the first day of spring marked by vernal equinox, or Tahvil. On that day (Wednesday, March 20, this year) the sun crosses the celestial equator and begins to regain strength and overcome winter’s cold and darkness. Nowruz, which is not confined to any one religious group, signals a renewal of growth and vigor in nature.

This year’s event in Reston was organized by Shohreh Asemi, an Iranian-American stage actress, journalist, TV producer and the host and founder of Nowruz Festival Organization. It featured musicians, vocalists, dancers, DJs, artists, jewelry-craft makers, food providers and vendors along Market Street. People posed for pictures in front of the Haft Sin table created by artist Hedi Aghevi. Haft Sin is a special table setting spread on to the Persian carpet or on a table. This ceremonial table is called cloth of seven dishes, each one beginning with the Persian letter Sin (S). These dishes stand for the seven angelic heralds of life: rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience and beauty.

Fairfax High School student Mediya Salimi, 16, whose family is from the Iranian region of Kurdistan, danced with family members and friends to ancient music under the pavillion.

“The dances are all very cultural but since we are all raised and born in America we have put our own twist to it.” said Salimi.