Students celebrate Persian New Year on campus with food, music

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On Thursday students and families celebrated the Persian New Year, or “Nowruz” in their native language, Farsi.

The MSU Persian Student Association partnered with the dining hall to bring other students a taste of Persian culture, and bring Persian students a taste of home.

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Danyelle Morrow / The State News

Computer science graduate student Reza Hajisheykhi likened Nowruz to Thanksgiving, a time when all family members gather and celebrate.

Observing and experiencing the tradition with friends and family at MSU is hard to put into words, Hajisheykhi said.

“I cannot explain it,” he said. “You feel like you are back home in your country.”

As part of the celebration, a traditional table setting called the Haft-Sin was placed in the center of the dining hall.

Atop it rested seven items symbolizing wishes of affluence, love and health, among others, for friends and family, said Fariborz Daneshvar, association vice president and biosystems engineering graduate student.

Daneshvar said along with respecting family and ancestors, Nowruz is a time of renewal and rebirth. Many Persians will clean their houses and apartments, resolve past disputes and, for the celebration, wear new clothing.

The first Nowruz dates back thousands of years, Daneshvar said.

To share the history of the Persian people, the association decorated the walls with photos of the ancient ruins and modern cities of Iran.

Holmes Dining Hall Culinary Services Manager Fatemeh Medina, who is also Persian, said she’s been waiting a long time for an event of this scale, when the food and celebration come together at MSU.

“I’ve worked on campus for 15 years, and we’ve never done anything like this because it would be hard to pull off,” Medina said.

Medina attributed the culinary success to the chefs, such as Executive East Neighborhood Chef Jason Strotheide, who started planning the event in July 2013. They experimented with traditional recipes and held taste-testings with Persian students.

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