Nowruz 1395-2016 | Info & Events

Posted by Susan Bahaduri & filed under Festivals.


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Marking the astronomical start of spring, Nowruz, or Iranian New Year, will take place this year on Sunday, March 20. Nowruz, meaning “new day,” is often referred to as “Persian New Year,” although Iran is composed of a variety of peoples and different ethnicities who celebrate. Nowruz is actually celebrated by many peoples from all over the Caucasus region, the Balkans, as well as South, West, and Central Asia.

Nowruz in Tajikistan. CREDIT:  Artin Bemani, CNN iReport

Nowruz in Tajikistan. Credit: Artin Bemani, CNN iReport

The festivities for the new year take place over the course of about two weeks:

Chahar-shanbeh Soori (“Wednesday Light” or “Red Wednesday”), or the Iranian Fire Festival, takes place on the eve of the last Wednesday before Nowruz. It is an ancient ritualistic festival dating back to the Zoroastrian era. We eat, sing, dance, and jump over bonfires as symbolic cleansing. Jumping over the fire is meant to restore your health and vigour, and simultaneously take away sickness and negativity in the body. As we jump, we say “Sorkhi-e to az man, zardi-e man az to,” which literally means “your fiery red is mine, my yellow pallor is yours.”

Depiction of Chaharshanbeh-Soori at Chehel Sootun in Esfahan, Iran. Credit: Ms.Magazine

Depiction of Chaharshanbeh-Soori at Chehel Sootun in Esfahan, Iran. Credit: Ms.Magazine

Sizdeh bedar (sizdeh means “thirteenth” and bedar means “to go out/get rid of”) takes place on the thirteenth day of Nowruz, marking its end. Typically, families will go for picnics and spend the day outside.

There will be events to celebrate Nowruz throughout Vancouver and at UBC, and everyone is welcome to partake:

!عید شما مبارک / Eid-e shoma mobarak!

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