The Farhang Foundation announced the 10th Annual Nowruz (the Iranian New Year) celebration at UCLA's Royce Hall and Dickson Court, taking place on Sunday, March 11, 2018 starting at 12 p.m. Guests can take part in this free festival exploring Iranian culture, one of the oldest in the world, while also embracing the first day of spring—that universal time of renewal and rebirth. Celebrated on the vernal equinox in Iran, Afghanistan, Albania, the U.S., India, Tajikestan, and Turkey, the New Year, called Nowruz (“new day”), is welcomed with vibrant displays of culture by more than 75 million people around the world.

Excitement for the event heightens with the inclusion of Farhang Foundation’s annual Banner Design Contest. This year’s winner, the work of Iranian born, L.A. based designer Sara Ashrafizadeh, can be seen splashing the sprawling streets of Los Angeles with rich and vivid colors and images reminiscent of the vibrant Iranian culture. (Pictured)

Experience varied musical acts, children’s arts & crafts, a colorful Iranian spring walk, a traditional Iranian Haft Sin display, Iranian dance, and a rare United States performance by Iranian folk legend, Sima Bina at Royce Hall and more. Farhang Foundation’s Nowruz celebration offers a unique, colorful cultural experience and has become the largest celebration in the nation with last year’s event at UCLA garnering over 25,000 guests.

All outdoor activities are free and open to the public without tickets, and will take place in Dickson Court North and South, which are adjacent to each other and to Royce Hall. The Musical Program, inside Royce Hall starring Sima Bina begins at 6 p.m.. Tickets for this performance are available here starting at $35. (Sima Bina will also be headlining Farhang's Annual Celebration of Nowruz at UC Irvine on March 24, 2018, tickets for that performance may be purchased here.)

Here's the day's schedule: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. / A variety of programming will repeat throughout the day on two stages outdoors on Dickson Court North and South.

Farhang's Annual Nowruz Spring Walk, at Dickson Court (starts 3 p.m. next to the main stage at Dickson Court North)

Children and adults alike are invited to join in this year's 5th Annual Spring Walk. Join in on the fun! Wear your favorite traditional colorful costumes. The parade will proceed through Dickson Court and the adjacent areas.

Djanbazian Dance Company (Dickson Court North Stage)

The Djanbazian Dance Company has toured nationally and internationally. For Nowruz, the group will delight audiences with a series of Iranian dances incorporating both traditional and modern themes.


Daneshvar Children's Ensemble (Dickson Court North Stage)

The Daneshvar Children's Ensemble lead by Parisa Daneshvar is part of the Persian Arts Society Music Institute, teaching Persian instruments, traditional and classical music, as well as music to children. Parisa Daneshvar and her children's ensemble will perform a special Nowruz program.


Grand Haft Sin Display (Center of Dickson Court North)

In the center of Dickson Court, all can enjoy a Haft Sin display. The stunning exhibit features an eye-catching centerpiece of Nowruz displayed in Iranian households to ring in the New Year. Families gather around an ornate fabric-draped table, laden with items that represent fertility, evolution, rebirth, prosperity, love, health and beauty.


Iranian Tea House (Dickson Court North)

Festival goers will experience a Persian style decorated tent. Inside the tent, purchase tea and Persian sweets to welcome the New Year.


Musicians and Dancers

Throughout the campus area, dancers from the Firuze Dance Company dressed in Iranian folk costumes and musicians playing traditional instruments will be performing, bringing a joyful sound and blur of colorful excitement to the proceedings.


Stilt Walkers

The character of Amoo Nowruz ("Papa Nowruz," this bearded gift giver of folklore could be compared to Santa Claus) and Hadji Firooz (his sidekick) and Naneh Sarma (Mother Winter) will be walking around the grounds on stilts, greeting guests.


Children's Programming (Dickson Court South)

There will be dedicated area for children, with music, arts, and crafts, photobooth, games, tournaments, as well as a special puppet show from 12 p.m. - 5 p.m..


Mamak Khadem &  Džambo Aguševi Orchestra  (Dickson Court outdoor Stage)

Described as "one of the wonders of world trance music," by The Los Angeles Times, Mamak Khadem captivates audiences by blending her roots in the ancient poetry and music of the Persian masters with a bold and revolutionary new sound. Džambo Aguševi Orchestra joins Khadem with a horned brass band ensemble. From Macedonia, the Džambo Aguševi Orchestra virtuously perform music that might be defined as fusion of traditional Balkan, Gypsy and Turkish music influenced by swing, jazz and pop and film music. They are considered as one of top Balkan brass bands.


L.A. DAF Ensemble  (Dickson Court outdoor Stage)

DAF literally translates as a ‘large Middle Eastern frame drum used in popular and classical music.’ At the Nowruz festival, experience not one - but seven women play DAF together in traditional outfits as an all female ensemble lead by artists Arezoo Koochakan and featuring folks songs from all regions of Iran.


Puppet Show by Negar Estakhr (Dickson Court South Stage)

An actress, designer, and puppeteer, Negar Estakhr is best known for her "Kolah Ghermezi" fame, as the show is Iran's most popular children's program, similar to "Sesame Street." She will be debuting a new puppet show specifically created for Farhang Foundation's Nowruz celebration.

6 p.m. Exclusive Headlining Musical Program Starring Sima Bina, inside Royce Hall

Farhang Foundation is honored to announce that this year's headlining concert at Royce Hall will be performed by Iranian legend Sima Bina. She is known for singing the most famous Nowruz song loved and cherished by all Iranians and those who celebrate Nowruz throughout the world. With a career spanning over 50 years, Sima Bina has positioned herself as a pioneer artist in her field - an explorer of traditional folkloric music from all regions of Iran. For decades she executed extensive research on Persian folk songs, collecting, recording, writing and re-interpreting popular regional music, including Mazandarani music, Kurdish music, Turkmen music, Baloch music, Lor music, Shirazi Music, Afghan Music, Bakhtiari Music, north and South Khorasan. Forbidden for 40 years due to the Iranian Revolution, Bina not only resisted, but persisted to ensure that her voice was heard. Her passion for the music made folklore prominent again, bringing attention to a forgot space, dubbing her with the title of the “heart of popular tradition.”


UCLA's Royce Hall & Dickson Court are located at 10745 Dickson Court, LA, CA 90095.

By Dena Burroughs  --  March 6, 2018