Persian New Year

Persian New Year Quick Facts - CA

AKA NameNowruz, Iranian New Year
HashtagsCompiled on#Persiannewyear
Related Hashtags#Nowruz
2024 DateMarch 19, 2024
2025 DateMarch 20, 2025

Persian New Year

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Persian New Year History

Persian New Year, known as Nowruz, marks the beginning of the New Year in the Iranian calendar and symbolizes the renewal of nature in spring. The observance of Nowruz involves several rich traditions such as Haft Seen, a table setting of seven symbolic items, each beginning with the Persian letter 's'. Also included in the celebrations are family gatherings, feasts, and visits to relatives, each aspect representing unity, prosperity, and the love of family.

Originating over 3,000 years ago in ancient Persia, Nowruz originally marked the Zoroastrian New Year. It has since been widely celebrated by people in various countries, including those of Persian descent in Canada. For these individuals, Nowruz is a special time to reflect on their cultural heritage while also embracing their Canadian identity. Unique aspects of the holiday in this context might include sharing traditional Persian foods prepared with locally sourced ingredients, engaging in performances that combine Persian dances with Canadian music or participating in public events hosted by cities across the country.

In Canada, the observance of Persian New Year takes place in a manner that gracefully combines Iranian traditions with a distinct Canadian flair. Celebrations may vary depending on the region, revolving around the ties of community and celebration of diversity. Events often include public festivals showcasing Persian culture through music, dance, art, and food. Persian New Year coincides with the vernal equinox, which often falls during the third week of March.

Facts about Persian New Year

  • The oldest records of Nowruz go back to 247 B.C during the Arsacid/Parthian times. Today it is celebrated in Afghanistan, Georgia, Albania, Iran, Iraq, India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan.
  • Khane taken, which means house-cleaning, is an Iranian custom in preparation for the new year. Families will begin cleaning their homes weeks ahead of the new year.
  • On Nowruz, focus is placed on seven items. These items all start with the Persian letter س (sin) or S. They are placed on the haft-seen table as a tradition of Zoroastrianism. They are:
    1) Seeb (apples) - symbols of health and beauty
    2) Senjed (dried oleaster berries) - wisdom and rebirth
    3) Samanu (wheat pudding) - strength and justice
    4) Somaq (sumac) - patience
    5) Serkeh (vinegar) - age
    6) seer (garlic) - cleanses body and environment
    7) Sabzeh (wheat, barley, lentils) - rejuvenation and new life
  • Toronto, home to a large Iranian community, hosts one of Canada’s most vibrant Nowruz celebrations. One of the highlights is the “Charshanbe Suri” or “Red Wednesday” festival, where people jump over bonfires to get rid of all the misfortunes of the past year and welcome the New Year with health and happiness.
  • Vancouver’s Persian community celebrates Nowruz with a festival at the city’s Persian Plaza, featuring traditional music, dance, and food. There are also similar celebrations in other cities including Ottawa, Calgary, and Montreal.

Top things to do in Canada for Persian New Year's Day

  • Enjoy traditional foods like sumalak. Sumalak is a thick pudding made from wheatgrass. It is typically prepared for 24 hours ahead of time. Women sing folk songs while they prepare huge pots of the pudding.
  • Some other traditional dishes you can try include sabzi poli mahi, which is rice and herbs served with fish, and ash reshteh, which is a thick soup with noodles and beans.
  • Partake in the custom of Chaharshanbeh Soori, the symbolic burning of all that was negative from the previous year. It is custom to jump over bonfires in the streets while shouting Give me your red color, take my yellow color. This symbolizes how the fire will take away the yellow of sickness and give back the red of health and warmth.
  • Attend the Celebration Square in Mississauga: Every year, a big Iranian festival is conducted by the Iranian community where you can enjoy traditional music, dance shows, delicious food, and beautiful Persian rugs.
  • Celebrate at the Persian New Year Fire Festival in Vancouver and Toronto: This special event, called Chahārshanbe Suri, is held on the eve of the last Wednesday of the year when people jump over bonfires as a purification ritual.

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