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Persian festival to celebrate ancient Iranian/Zoroastrian holiday

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Los Angeles-based, Persian satellite-television network Royal Time TV will host its third annual Persian Festival to honor Mehregan, an ancient Iranian and Zoroastrian celebration that dates back millennia, at Pierce College on Sunday, Oct. 19.

Mehregan is no longer celebrated in Iran because it conflicts with the laws of the Islamic Republic, which has been Iran’s political system since 1979, Royal Time TV employee and event organizer Kourosh Aladin said.

“I feel very excited to celebrate this event, and that we can also share it with others,” Aladin said.

Mehregan originated from ancient Persia more than 6,000 years ago. It represented the time for harvest and tax collection. The festival has depicted and celebrated Persian culture, history, friendship, affection and love, which has included a custom to give others small gifts.

Festival participants today wear new clothes and set tables filled with decorative, colorful and symbolic items.  It’s still a festival that represents love and friendship, even though it isn’t celebrated in Iran anymore.

Royal Time TV’s recent Mehregan festivals have included appearances by members of congress and and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, said Simin Tehrani, owner of Royal Time TV.

“Last year Mayor Garcetti even danced with the crowd,” Tehrani said.

Tehrani was inspired to spread awareness of Iranian culture when she got negative feedback from her son after she enrolled him in a Persian class when they were living in Colorado.

“I remember when I came to pick him up he was upset with me for enrolling him in the class,” Tehrani said. “Others were not understanding of his culture.  It was different to them.  That’s when I realized I wanted to help spread awareness.”

Tehrani saw Pierce as a solution.

“Being that it is a college, we wanted to take this opportunity to expose Iranian culture to a younger generation, and our community as well,” Tehrani said.

Tehrani wants Royal Time TV to get more involved with students and the festival.

“I want students to help plan the event next year, and assist with setting up, maybe present some awards to students and maybe even have a student run show on our station about diversity,” Tehrani said. “We encourage and welcome all nationalities. Bring everyone you know.”

The festival will feature food, drinks, DJs, dancing and live performances. Performing musicians include Iranian artists the Black Cats and Shahrokh.

The Mehregan festival is Sunday, Oct. 19, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., in Rocky Young Park and Parking Lot 7.