Masses of joy at Nawroz

Traditional dancers in front of a massive crowd in Dandenong Park on 19 March. 324044_01 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Sahar Foladi

The famous Nawroz Festival saw a huge turn-out as always on Sunday 19 March in Dandenong Park.

President of VAAN Nazir Yousafi said the event attracted groups from across Australia with singers and performers from Sydney, Geelong, Shepparton and other parts of Victoria who made it to the event.

Live music, performances, drama, fashion show, karate and physical activities kept everyone entertained on the day including Member for Bruce MP Julian Hill and councillors.

This year’s festival was first after a pledge of $30,000 grant for the festival over the next three years was announced last year.

Mr Yousafi said the $10,000 every year for the next three years will be used for increased security and cleaning staff.

Bruce MP Julian Hill made the announcement on 27 March during last year’s Nawroz festival in front of the 8,000 people crowd.

Mr Hill said, “I’m proud to represent more people born in Afghanistan than any other MP in Australia, plus many people from Iran.

“Of course while Nowroz is a celebration, we must also remember that many people are worried about the safety of family and friends in Afghanistan and Iran and miss them even more at this time of the year.”

As Taliban have taken rule over the country, there will be no sign of celebrations of Nawroz in Afghanistan.

“This festival was an opportunity for those to celebrate it in Melbourne,” Mr Yousafi said.

Newly arrived migrants also had the chance to celebrate this year’s Nawroz festival.

Nawroz literally translates to ‘New Day’ a widely celebrated event as the New Year and to mark the first day of spring.

Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and much more Central Asia celebrate Nawroz. Different ethnicities and religions therefore have slightly different traditions, spelling and pronunciation of Nawroz.

Dressing up in cultural dresses, having a feast with family and giving out gifts are also among common practices.

The abolishment of temporary protection visas announced by the Albanese Government on 13 February will make for another reason to celebrate hard while prayers are with everyone back home in Afghanistan.