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From Ceremonial to Sentimental: A DIY Nowruz Celebration Guide

Haftsin table at ICA

  • The new year kicks off on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at 8:06:26 PM

  • Please share your photos of your beautiful haftsin table with ICA by tagging us on Facebook and Instagram

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If you’ve stumbled upon these opening lines after passing the title, congratulations! You’re about to embark on a journey filled with wonderful days ahead and the vibrant celebration of Nowruz—an ancient, nature-based New Year. Whether you’re a born-and-raised Canadian, a half-Canadian, a new Canadian, or someone pondering the application process, fear not! This DIY guide promises to immerse you in the same joy and excitement experienced by Iranians during their New Year festivities.

To add a bit of educational flair, it’s good for you to know that Nowruz isn’t just a party for Iranians. It’s celebrated by folks in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, some parts of Pakistan, many people with Iranian backgrounds in India, Azerbaijan, some parts of Iraq (especially Kurds), many of Iranian origin in UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman, as well as some minorities in Armenia and Turkey.

So, buckle up your boots and get ready for a delightful journey into the heart of this ancient Persian tradition, boasting over 3000 years of history. But before we dive in, mark your calendars and set your alarms, because the new year kicks off precisely on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at 8:06:26 PM. Don’t you dare miss that second!

Cleaning Home:

  • Roll up your sleeves and get ready to give your humble abode the TLC it deserves. From dusting off those high shelves to scrubbing those pesky hard-to-reach corners, leave no stone unturned! And don’t forget to rope in your partner for some good ol’ cleaning action—after all, during Nowruz, it’s practically a Canadian tradition to tackle household chores together. And hey, while you’re at it, why not give your furry companions a Nowruz makeover? Grab the pet shampoo and prepare for some seriously hilarious bath time antics—sorry, Fluffy!

New Cloth Buying:

  • Time to hit the stores and shop till you drop! Grab your credit card and embark on a retail therapy session fit for a Canuck. And hey, bonus points if you can sweet-talk your partner into picking up the tab! Just take a gander at those Iranian fellas in the shopping malls near Nowruz—talk about enthusiasm! So, whether you’re browsing online or perusing your favorite local clothing stores, snag outfits that’ll have you shining brighter than the sun on the first day of spring. And if your partner starts giving you the ol’ side-eye over the price tags, just remind them it’s all part of the Nowruz spirit of renewal—and who’s gonna argue with cultural diversity in Canada?

Buying Haftsin Items:

  • Head on over to your nearest Iranian or Middle Eastern grocery stores or specialty markets across Victoria, Vancouver, and beyond to stock up on those essential Haftsin items. Haftsin, which means ‘seven S’, includes seven items that start with the letter ‘S’ in Persian language. For more information, you can google it, or even better, reach out to your nearest Iranian friend). Whether it’s green sprouts, sweet puddings, or dried oleaster fruit, these shops have got you covered. And hey, if you’re lacking in colorful bowls for the display, fear not—these shops have got those too! Plus, why not get a bit fancy and pop each item into a wine glass for an extra touch of elegance?

Coloring Eggs, Baking, or Buying Sweets and Fruits:

  • Get ready to get your hands dirty with some egg coloring fun! It’s as simple as tossing some red onion skins or madder into a pot with your eggs and letting them boil away. And hey, while you’re at it, unleash your inner chef with some traditional Nowruz sweets and treats! And if baking ain’t your jam, no sweat—just swing by your nearest Iranian and Middle Eastern grocery store and stock up on pastries and goodies fit for a Nowruz feast!

Buying or Printing Pages of the Book of Shahname:

  • Dive into the depths of the internet or pop on over to your local bookstore to snag a copy of the legendary Shahnameh. Whether you’re a seasoned scholar or a novice reader, this epic Persian masterpiece is sure to be a hit!

Designing the Haftsin Table:

  • Transform your dining room into a Nowruz wonderland with a meticulously designed Haftsin table. Go wild with fresh flowers, decorative candles, and symbolic items arranged just so. And hey, don’t forget to toss a small mirror on top to reflect all that beauty—a Nowruz table must-have!

Getting New Banknotes for Younger Guests:

  • Make it rain (figuratively speaking) with crisp new banknotes for your younger guests. Swing by your local bank and snag some fresh bills to sprinkle among the kiddos. And remember—it’s the thought that counts! Of course, when it comes to your partner wanting to give you money, it’s better to be at least $200, no ifs, ands, or buts! And, of course, he should do it voluntarily. Volunteering is one of the respected Canadian cultural norms.

Inviting Families or Close Friends to Join You:

  • Spread the Nowruz joy by inviting your nearest and dearest to join in the festivities. Because celebrating 7000 years of history is always more fun with good company! So, extend a warm invitation to your loved ones and get ready to create some cherished memories together! By the way, how about sharing your photos of your beautiful haftsin table with ICA? Tag ICA on Instagram and Facebook!

Nowruz special dinner

  • For the special Nowruz dinner, Iranians traditionally indulge in a delightful feast of rice and fish, a cherished meal enjoyed with loved ones. It’s important not to misinterpret this cultural tradition—when we say rice and fish, we’re not talking about sushi! Instead, whip up a delectable Iranian dish known as Sabzi Polo, a fragrant herbed rice dish that perfectly complements the flavors of fried fish. However, given the soaring prices of fish, don’t fret if it’s out of reach—opt for a delicious pizza alternative instead. After all, Iranian culture is famous for its tolerance and acceptance changes.

Being Careful About the Hour, Minute, and Second of New Year:

  • Don’t forget to mark your calendars and set your alarms! The new year kicks off on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at 8:06:26 PM. So, don’t you dare miss that second! Set your clocks and synchronize your devices to ensure you’re ready to welcome the new year with open arms. And hey, before that special moment arrives, gather your loved ones, say a little prayer, and take a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature’s renewal!

Start Meeting Everyone You Know:

  • The day after Nowruz, it’s time to hit the road and catch up with all your friends and family. Whether it’s a quick cup of tea or a leisurely chat, make sure to spread the love to everyone in your circle. And hey, don’t forget to drop by and say hello to your exes—after all, what’s a new year without a little bit of friendly banter! And don’t forget an elderly family member or friend. Visit them and let your elderly family members or friends know you care about them. Don’t forget to take your children with you, as the elderly always enjoy children running around their home and jumping on their furniture. Just kidding… don’t do that!

Don’t Forget Sizdah be dar:

  • Thirteen days after the new year, it’s time to embrace the tradition of Sizdah Be Dar! Pack up your picnic gear and head outdoors for a day of fun in nature. And hey, don’t be shy about joining in on the celebrations with other Iranian families in parks across Victoria and Vancouver. It’s the perfect opportunity to soak up the sunshine, dance, and play with your kiddos!

With these oh-so-Canadian tips, you’ll be ready to host a Nowruz celebration that’s as unforgettable as it is fun! So, gather your friends, gather your family, and get ready to ring in the new year with laughter, love, and plenty of Nowruz spirit!

By Kamal Heydari

Kamal Heydari spent over 13 years as a journalist and communication specialist before shifting his career to work in marketing and business development as an executive and consultant in Middle Eastern countries. In 2022 he moved to Canada to start a new chapter in his life.