The mood at the 12th annual Persian New Year festival at Lake Balboa on Sunday was lively with traditional music and food enjoyed by families and friends.
About 12,000 people attended the festival of “joy and solidarity,” celebrated by Iranians. The event is traditionally held outdoors on the 13th day of the Persian New Year of Nowruz.
The day was filled with rituals, including tying blades of grass together and making wishes with each knot, then letting the lump of grass flow down a waterway at Lake Balboa.
Families lounged on blankets casually thrown on the grass or ate on park benches and under umbrellas. Others brought tents with tables and chairs for extra comfort.
“We don’t like to sit at home. We want to come out and celebrate this day and come to the park and bring something to eat—and, yes, also dance,” said 70-year-old Niktoush Amirians of Granada Hills.
Although there was a huge crowd, people weren’t stepping over each other. There was plenty of space and parking.
The festival was cordoned off and regular park-goers had restricted access to the public grounds.
In one corner of the festival area, a hajji firuz, the traditional herald of Nowruz, entertained the crowds with Persian music and gave away $2 bills to children as a present.
A hookah tent was set up in another area, where people gathered while smoking fruit-flavored tobacco through a water pipe.
Festival-goers lined up at vendor booths soliciting information about skin care products, clothing, trinkets and even legal services.
Many people gathered at the stage where Persian music vibrated from speakers. Some clapped, some sang and others danced to the heart-thumping music.
Scroll through the photo gallery above to learn more about the event.