The 2018 Navruz celebration at Indiana University, organized by the Association of Central Eurasian Studies, was a huge success despite less-than-ideal weather conditions. Over 200 people braved an unusual Spring blizzard to attend the event, which was held on Saturday, March 24 in the GISB auditorium. Festivities began with a concert at 6 p.m. followed by a reception that was catered by Samira's.
The concert included a wide array of talented performers, most of whom are natives of various countries that celebrate the Navruz holiday. By 6:15 p.m., every seat in the GISB auditorium was filled and the volunteers handing out programs had to begin dispensing the caveat “standing room only” along with them. The concert began with "An invocation for Navruz," a Kyrgyz poem, recited by Elmira Tolubaeva-Ferris, Gulnaz Omorkanova, and Azamat Dokturbekov. The recitation was followed by a Kazakh dance performed by Saltanat Karimsattar and Gulzhakhan Oraz. Other performances included folksongs and poem recitations from various Central Eurasian regions.
After the concert, guests made their way to the GISB auditorium for the delicious meal catered by Samira's. While they were filling their plates, the inaugural Ghormeh Sabzi competition was taking place in a nearby room. The competition was a new twist to previous Plov competitions that had been held during past Navruz events. There were 12 competitors who came with bowls of the best ghormeh sabzi they could make, and four judges spent almost an hour tasting the different stews. It was a stiff competition, but IU student Yasaman Heidarian took home the first place trophy. Despite the severe winter weather, particpants and guests at this year's Navruz event enjoyed a great evening together celebrating the Persian and Central Asian New Year.