Mehregan is a holiday for Mehr, the Persian goddess of love, knowledge, peace and commitment. People gathered Saturday to see artwork, hear poetry readings, enjoy the day.
Mehregan, a major holiday in Persian traditions, is being celebrated this weekend at the Orange County Fairgrounds.
The two-day event, which is set to wrap up today, is being called the Persian Harvest Festival in English. Mehregan is one of Persian culture's two most important holidays and is a celebration of the beginning of autumn, said Parastoo Derakhshanian, who represented the Iranian Cultural Center of Orange County at the event Saturday.
The holiday's roots go back to ancient Iran, she said. Mehragan and Norooz, Persian New Year, are the two biggest holidays that originated from old Iran.
The event's brochure describes Mehregan as a holiday for Mehr, the Persian goddess of love, knowledge, peace and commitment.
Saturday, a variety of creative pursuits were on display at the fairgrounds. Tapestries on display depicted subjects that included Christian images, portrayals of historic figures, and images of beautiful women. Painters also showed their works at the event, and poetry readings were held.
Artist Ali Heidari was one of the painters at the festival. Many of the works he displayed were watercolor images of flowers juxtaposed with Farsi calligraphy.
One work, he said, combined watercolors with a poem written by the famed Persian poet Hafez.
When asked what inspires his work, Heidari shrugged.
"I love it. Love," he said.
The venue for poetry readings was only a short walk from Heidari's paintings.
The poetry exhibit was called "Poetry That Is Life" and Shoja Adel, who organized the poetry event and contributed his own work to the readings, said many of the poems featured at this year's event have an anti-war theme.
"It's a lot about peace," Adel said.
One of the poets who participated was Parvin Bavafa, who lives in Irvine. Bavafa said her writing comes from her "passion for being and living."
Two of her poems were compiled into an anthology that was available at the poetry exhibit. One poem in the anthology is written in Farsi; its title translates to "Painting" in English, Bavafa said. The other, called "The Epic of Persian Women," is written in English as a protest against the treatment of women in modern Iran.
Mehregan is being held today from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the Orange County Fairgrounds, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. Admission is $25. Children younger than 10 will be admitted free.