The Persian New Year marks the arrival of spring, and with it comes a feeling of new beginnings.
Called Nowruz in the Farsi Persian language, Navroz in the Ismaili Muslim tradition, and Naw-Rúz in the Baha’i faith, the festival is celebrated at the time of the vernal equinox – falling on March 20 or 21 – when the sun crosses the sky celestial. the equator, and night and day are of equal length.
After two years of not being able to celebrate together during the pandemic, people gathered at West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park on Tuesday for Charshanbe Suri, a celebration that precedes Nowruz and features food, music and fire jumps.
For the Persian community, fire jumping holds special significance, says Sara Shishman of West Vancouver.
“When you jump over the fire, it takes all your sadness away,” she said. “It purifies you.”
Baha’i celebrations reflect the diversity of the community
For the Bahá’í community, Naw-Rúz is a time to break bread together and volunteer in the community.
The act of giving is a focal point, as is the 19-day sunrise-to-sunset fast leading up to the special occasion.
Michelle Murphy, external affairs representative for the Baha’is of Vancouver, said there would be several Naw-Rúz celebrations in Metro Vancouver, including one at Vancouver’s McBride Park on Sunday. The celebrations will be as diverse, she says, as the community itself.
“It’s wonderful to have this mix of all these different ways of celebrating,” she said.
Navroz marks a period of transition
For the Ismailis, depending on where they come from, Navroz is about food, prayers, dances and clothing, says Aly Sunderji of Burnaby.
“That’s when we also made our resolutions to better ourselves and re-engage in spiritual pursuits,” the 33-year-old said.
For Sunderji, Sunday’s Navroz festivities mark a time of transition, and he hopes this year will move away from two years of reduced community contact due to the pandemic.
“We are so grateful that this day is coming when we can actually be physically together,” he said. “I’m sure it will be a very emotional day for all of us.”
On the coast5:53The Nowruz fire festival is back