By Iman Sadri
March 18, 2020
When the emaill came, there was no shock. ‘Due to the Covid-19 Novel Coronavirus the Norooz Festivities have been cancelled.’ The news of the Coronavirus had been brewing for some time and event cancellations had been rampant. Seeing a March 2020 Norooz event hosted by a local Orange County organization cancelled was not a surprise.
A myriad of Persian cultural and business organizations have been forced to cancel their Norooz events. Including live concerts, public park Shar-Shanbeh Soori’s, art exhibits, and my own upcoming Norooz networking mixer for Physicians and Dentists, which was postponed.
Families have been quarantined at home to avoid getting exposed to the Coronavirus, which has ravaged my home country of Iran. In Irvine, where I live restaurants, bars and social gatherings have been shuttered – due to city ordinances mandated by the local and state government. As a result roads are practically empty. Highways are desolate. Restaurants are almost entirely abandoned.
State and local authorities in the U.S. have been quick to make necessary health and safety protocols to safeguard its citizens. Safety is important, but the economic ramifications have been dire. The closure of restaurants, for example, has decimated the income for at least 7 % of my hometown of Sacramento’s workforce – who rely on income as waiters and waitresses.
Las Vegas casinos have mostly closed. Las Vegas Boulevard is all but empty. Can you imagine ? No need to imagine because it’s reality. Almost like a scene from the film Vanilla Sky, starring Tom Cruise. Bars and nightclubs are closed. San Francisco has given a curfew to its residents. Movie theaters and all Broadway shows in New York have closed. The Novel Coronavirus 🦠 seems to have slowed everything down – except Springtime and the force of nature.
Spring 🌸 is continuing on schedule. Tomorrow marks the first day of Spring. The sun ☀️ is still continuing to rise and set. Blossoms are blooming. The weather is getting slowly warmer. The days are gradually getting longer. Persian New Year will go on as planned !
Large family gatherings may be shuttered. But Norooz haft-sins will still be set. Fires were jumped over during Shar-Shanbeh Soori last night. Albeit smaller ones and in people’s backyards. The traditions are continuing. Even if it means having a smaller number of people with each event. Seezdeh-Bedar in Mason Park in Irvine will probably be cancelled. But that doesn’t mean that families still can’t continue the traditions in a smaller group.
As destructive as the Coronavirus has been it can’t and won’t slow down Spring or Persian New Year. The birds 🦅 will continue to chirp. The flowers 🌺 will continue to bloom. The sun ☀️ will continue to shine. Society may be slowed down, but nature can’t be stopped.
Iman Sadri is the founder of @LASmileMagazine and @ThePersianObserver