Chahaarshanbeh Souri, Santa Cruz beach, California.
By the fire
A group of us gathered at the beach in Santa Cruz last night -- Tuesday, March 18, 1997. Here's a closer look.
Local park rangers had given permission to light fires for Chahaarshnbeh Souri from 8 to 10 at night. The rangers howed up promptly at 10, telling us through a loudspeaker in their jeep to turn out the fire. No problem.
It was fun. Jaaye hamegi khaali, as they say (should have been there; we missed you). By the time me and Farzaneh and Firouzeh Rohanizadeh got to the beach, the fires had just been lit and the jumping was well under way.
There were about 30 of us, mostly between the ages of 20-30. We couldn't resist screaming every time we jumped over the fire. And when everyone had their second and third run, it was time for some and clapping and dancing . The girls danced, the men clapped. The favorite song seemed to be Sandy's banadri tune, "Dokhtar Ahvazi" (Ahvazi girl).
And then Mehrdad Nejat got out his drum and played some bandari. Earlier that day his wife, Fariba Nejat, had succeeded in convincing the Santa Clara County to recognize March 21, 1997, as Iranian Heritage Day.
Curiously, there was not one mention of Iran, by anyone at the beach.