The Persian Club is giving students a chance to celebrate an early Norooz tonight at 7 p.m. in I.V. Theater at its annual Persian Culture Night.

Norooz, the three-week-long Persian New Year celebration, officially begins March 19, but tonight’s event is being offered to students as an alternative to celebrating during finals. The event, which is open to everyone and free to attend, will feature traditional dancing, music, Persian food, skits exploring stereotypes about Persian culture, and a short film about the beauty of Iran and its culture.

Reza Akef, club president and a senior political science major, said he was excited about the event, and that he was pleased students are doing something to get involved with their culture.

“The celebration [tonight] is going to be special because it’s all student-run; it’s been practiced and put together by us,” Akef said. “It’s a great opportunity to show our culture and explore stereotypes.”

The Persian Culture Night is in its fifth year, and Persian Club member Neda Mashayekhi, a sophomore law and society major, said it is growing in popularity every year.

“Last year we held it at the MultiCultural Center and there were people sitting in the aisles. We moved to I.V. Theater this year because we expect a big turnout,” Mashayekhi said.

Mashayekhi said many students don’t get a chance to celebrate Norooz at home due to the rigors of the quarter schedule.

“People on campus never have a chance to celebrate with their families because of finals, so this is a great opportunity for students to come together and celebrate Norooz.”

Akef said Norooz is widely celebrated in Iran and symbolizes a chance for people to make a fresh start in the new year. He said during Norooz, families in Iran invite people into their homes to celebrate.

“Your door is unlocked; people are welcome,” Akef said. “They have desserts and tea, and it’s all about starting over again, a rebirth.”