Many Holidays in West Asia are determined by moon cycles such as Ramadan, Asura, and Eid al Fitr. My favorite is definitely Eid Norooz (Newroz / Nowruz / Norouz / Nauruz – the spelling will change based upon region). Eid Norooz is the first day of spring and considered the Islamic New Year, celebrating with lots of food, family, and friends. One of my favorite elements of Norooz is the Iranian celebration Chaharshanbe Soori, which honors the spirits of the dead by jumping over fire, representing jumping into the New Year with good fortune. Eid Norooz is an important holiday for many West Asians. “For the Kurdish people, celebrating Newroz and using its Kurdish spelling is a political act, a symbol of freedom to express Kurdish identity” – @localbrownbaby
Leili Arai Tavallaei is an interdisciplinary artist and advocate whose work expands dialogues between the intersections of her identity including race, religion, culture, and sexuality. She is currently based in Baltimore, MD pursuing a BFA in Animation and Printmaking at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and is expected to graduate in Spring of 2021. Tavallaei is the founder and 2018-2019 President of MICA’s Brown Asian Student Union which is dedicated to creating spaces and sparking dialogues for the marginalized minority in the Asian Diaspora with a focus on the South, Southeast, West Indies, and West Asian experience on her campus. She is also the West Asian advisor for Overachiever Magazine. Tavallaei identifies as a mixed race Persian-Japanese-American from Houston, TX.