In celebration of cultural diversity in Canada, Coquitlam Public Library will be holding a crafting event for families on Mar. 10, 2018 at the City Centre branch. The event, Persian New Year Family Craft Program, will have fun activities all while promoting cultural learning.
Aiding the search for more information on Nowruz, Parsa Kiani, 4th year SFU Psychology student, explains what Nowruz is all about and what the celebration means to him as an Iranian living in Vancouver.
Persian New Year
The word Nowruz is the combination of now and ruz, according to Kiani: now meaning new in Farsi, and ruz meaning day. The two words combined, Nowruz is interpreted as the new day, explains Kiani.
“This is a very fitting name as the precise beginning of Persian New Year takes places when the season changes from winter to spring on the vernal equinox [March 20 or March 21],” he says.
Nowruz celebrations usually take place on either March 20th or March 21st, according to Kiani. He says it is the time of year when friends and families gather; everyone visits each other’s houses and enjoys delicious meals together.
“One of the most prominent celebrations during Nowruz is Chahr Shanbe Souri,” says Kiani. “[It is the] fire jumping tradition [that] happens on the last Wednesday of the year, when people gather and light a small bonfire and jump over the flames. This is an ancient tradition that also has been the very essence of our culture,” says Kiani enthusiastically.
Kiani reveals that sometimes the exact time of the new year will be very late at night, and that so many actually end up going to sleep instead of staying up.
Delaram Hoorfar, VP External of the SFU Iranian club, adds her own perspective to the story of Nowruz.
“When the new year time comes, we all kiss each other and congratulate each other, wishing each other a good year,“ Hoorfar says. “It is also believed that we are supposed to let go of all the differences, problems and grudges, to forgive each other and make up with enemies and lost friends – to start the year fresh, with love and kindness.”
Hoorfar also enjoys Nowruz traditions in her home as well.
“No matter what time the new year starts, my family gathers around the table about an hour before, all dressed up and happy, praying or watching Persian Nowruz shows with traditional Persian dances, poetry, music, etc,” says Hoorfar. “The elders are supposed to give the younger ones some money or candies, called eidi, and many Persians, such as my family, put some money between the pages of a Quran and the youngsters take some from it, as it is believed that it will bring more money in the year ahead.”
The Vancouver Persian community
Also a participant in the SFU Iranian club, Kiani is proud to showcase what the club has achieved.
“As the largest Iranian association in Simon Fraser University, we are proud to announce that for the last three years we have held and organized our signature Nowruz gala,” says Kiani. “During our [previous] sold out events, live traditional Iranian music and dance, a photo booth with Haftsin table, and Shahname Khani are a few things that we have going on.”
Reflecting on the Iranian community, Kiani says that North Vancouver is home to a large portion of this community.
“You can definitely learn a lot about us by trying some Persian cuisine at a restaurant on Lonsdale Avenue!” exclaims Kiani.
For more information, please visit www.coqlibrary.ca/programs-events/children.