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Celebrating the triumph of good

This year's Mehregan takes place next weekend at Lakeside Lagoon Park in Irvine.

September 18, 2010|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com
  • Volunteer artist Azadeh Sarvi adds paint to a scene reminiscent of an ancient Persian wall for upcoming Mehregan 2010 Persian Festival of Autumn.
Volunteer artist Azadeh Sarvi adds paint to a scene reminiscent… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

Editor's note: This corrects the headline. The holiday is celebrated by Iranians. This also corrects the sub-head and third paragraph. The event takes place Sept. 25 and 26. 

More than 1,000 years ago, a great Persian poet could see his country changing. A new language and atmosphere was taking shape.

He used his poetic talent to preserve his culture for years to come. He told the stories of Persia — heroes, kings, art, dance, sunrises and sunsets — from the moment the world was believed to have been created until the Islamic conquest of Persia in the 7th Century.

In today's world, Ferdowsi's "Shahnameh: The Epic of Kings" is regarded as a masterpiece in Persian literature and the savior of the Persian language and culture.

Shahnameh's spirit, its message of peace, humanity and freedom, is the theme of this year's Mehregan, the Persian Festival of Autumn, said Hossein Hosseini, board member of the Irvine-based Network of Persian American Professionals of Orange County, (NIPOC), which has organized Mehregan since 1994.

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"Mehregan is a celebration of the Goddess of Mehr, which has roots in the mysticism of old Persia," Hosseini said. "And when celebrated, it's celebrating the overcoming of good over evil."

This year's 14th annual Persian Festival of Autumn will take place at Lakeside Lagoon Park in Irvine Sept 25 to 26. Iranians and other Middle Easterners from throughout Orange County and all of Southern California come to attend the autumnal festival that celebrates love, knowledge and commitment.

Mehregan promises to be bigger than ever with a variety of entertainment that celebrates Iranian culture with music, dance, cuisine and traditions. Some 25,000 revelers are expected, rather than the usual 15,000 to 20,000.

The Irvine Mehregan event was canceled last year following the Green Movement in Iran, when thousands of Iranians took to the streets to protest the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mehregan is one of two festivals celebrated by ancient Persians. Norooz, the Persian New Year, is celebrated in the beginning of the spring.

"In 1994, we realized that all Iranian-Americans here celebrate the New Year," Hosseini said. "But when it comes to fall, there's Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"So we were thinking we should have this special celebration called Mehregan. And what a better way of showing our kids and neighbors that we do also have a celebration in the fall, and it's Mehregan."

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