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Orange County

20,000 Expected at Irvine Festivities

March 27, 2004|Kevin Pang | Times Staff Writer

Persian New Year festivities are expected to bring 20,000 people of Iranian descent to Irvine's William R. Mason Regional Park on Sunday in a celebration of food, family and culture. March 28 marks "Sizdeh Bedar," a day when Iranian families traditionally congregate in parks from sunrise to sundown.

"It's basically a day where people bring a lot of food and have a good time," said Dr. Mohsen Alinaghian, a member of the Network of Iranian-American Professionals of Orange County. "Sometimes you see friends you haven't seen for a whole year, so there's a lot of dancing, hugging and kissing."

The event is also expected to bring traffic snarls.

Irvine police say three major roadways will be heavily congested from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday: University Drive between the San Diego Freeway and MacArthur Boulevard; Culver Drive between the San Diego Freeway and Campus Drive; and Harvard Avenue between Culver and Michelson drives.

"Sizdeh Bedar" means "getting rid of 13" in Persian. Celebrated on the 13th day of the new year, Iranians believe they can avoid bad luck by spending the day outdoors.

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