Saturday is the Persian new year festival of Nowruz which marks the beginning of spring.
Euronews reporter Omid Lahabi visited a group of students from Sussex University in the English coastal town of Brighton where Iranian expats arranged a night of traditional music, food and celebration with their British friends to countdown to Nowruz.
“We usually spend Nowruz with our close family members,” explained one of the students, “but we’re Iranian expats so our families are not around. That hasn’t stopped us from meeting with our friends, a new kind of family, for the occasion.”
After counting down to the start of Nowruz, people hug and kiss and wish each other a happy new year. Older people traditionally give younger people gifts such as cash or gold coins.
Nowruz originated in Iran and the Persian Empire and is celebrated by 300 million people across the middle and far east.
The celebrations continue for two weeks.
“Being far away from your country does not mean you have to be far from a party,” said Omid Lahabi. “Wherever in the world you’re celebrating Nowroz let’s look to the future with hope.
“Happy new year!”