Hundreds marched Sunday in celebration of their heritage and to mark the Persian New Year during the 11th annual Persian Parade in Midtown. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
The 11th annual Persian Parade was a celebration of Persian pride Sunday. As a result, Murray Hill was awash in Red, White and Green - the colors of the Iranian flag. But after the long hard winter we had, it's perhaps just as important to note this is a day to celebrate Nowruz, the start of spring.
"This is an old historical event which comes once a year, the beginning of the spring and we celebrate," said one parade marcher.
"It's all amazing bright colors," said one parade spectator.
The parade is non-religious and also non-political, and the organizers say it's important to keep the focus on what counts.
"We are an ancient culture, and we're birth of civilization. And as you can see on all these floats, different provinces, are being represented as well as beautiful costumes and beautiful people and beautiful dancer," said Parade Organizer Betty Emamian.
Through music, traditional dance and informational floats, more than 500 people marched and told the story of the Persian people.
"Just our Persian culture that's beautiful. That's the reason it makes it very nice," said one parade spectator.
The 12 block parade route was lined with thousands waving flags, dancing and singing along. Many parents said it was important to bring their children so they could see their history on display.
"I wanted her to see the richness of the culture that we have. Unfortunately there is a lot of bad news on the media for us, so this is our chance to show the rest of the world that we are like everybody else," said one parade spectator.
People really do travel from all over to attend the parade. NY1 spoke to one person who came from Tehran, and all of the out of towners say the best part is that their culture is being celebrated in the heart of Manhattan.
"It's like the Big Apple and it's really wonderful to see that we have a big parade in New York," said one parade spectator.
"I'm excited because America actually recognizes our culture and they're here to celebrate with us," said another parade spectator.