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It's almost time for the Persian New Year, known as Norooz (also spelled Noruz), which celebrates the coming of spring. The word itself literally means new day in Persian and marks the beginning of the solar year on the Vernal Equinox (March 20th). The holiday is a cherished Iranian festivity that is also celebrated in Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of India, amongst the Kurds and Los Angeles.Here's some upcoming public events in SoCal:

Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12, 2005, 10.30-5 each day: The Iranian American Women's Assocition (IAWS) is hosting its annual Norooz Bazaar in Rancho Palos Verdes. Notify your friends and family who are interested in buying everything they need for
Norooz (sheereey and haft-seen type items, as well as other goodies) while also contributing to a charity that aids battered women in the Persian community and the elderly.

This bazar will take place at the Pacific Unitarian Church, 5621 Montemalaga Dr., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. For more info, please call (310) 529-7272.

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HOMAN - Iranian Gay & Lesbian Group's Norooz Party
Friday March 18th, 2005 at 8:00 p.m. to celebrate HOMAN's 15th annual Norooz party.

The event is open to all members, family members and friends of HOMAN. The admission ticket can be purchased at www.homanla.org, using PayPal.

Learn more about Norooz traditions by watching a new animated film called "Babak and Friends" by Dustin Ellis. The film debuted March 10th and is now available on DVD.