Ancient Persian traditions marking the beginning of spring will be celebrated in Port Coquitlam this year with a lecture, an exhibit and a day of festivities at Gates Park.
Organized by Medi Tavassol and the Tri-City Futsal Academy, Nowruz will be celebrated with the goal of sharing knowledge about Persian culture.
Persian New Year, known as “Nowruz," started yesterday (March 20) and celebrations continue for 13 days.
Sizdah Bedar is the 13th day of the New Year and the last day of the New Year holiday.
On Sizdah Bedar, Persian people spend the day outdoors visiting and picnicking with family and friends.
The day is filled with dancing, singing, eating and playing games. Fun and laughter are believed to be the best way to start the New Year.
Sizdah Bedar is also known as Nature Day, where people have the opportunity to enjoy the onset of warmer weather, longer days and spring blossoms.
Tri-Cities Sizdah Bedar Festival will be celebrated this year from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 2 at Gates Park in Port Coquitlam.
The event will include games for the whole family, prizes, food vendors, live children’s entertainment, cultural entertainment, music and dancing.
Exhibits and nature-based crafts and activities will be hosted by local community groups.
Sizdah Bedar is a free, fun-filled, family-friendly event and is open to the public; it was made possible through the support of community donations, the City of Port Coquitlam and a grant from the Port Coquitlam Community Foundation.
Talk explains about Persian traditions
There are additional opportunities to learn about Nowruz as well.
On March 30, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Port Coquitlam Heritage Museum and Archives will be hosting a talk.
Medi Tavassoli, organizer of Tricity Futsal and the Sizdah Bedar event in PoCo, will speak about Nowruz and its observance here in Port Coquitlam.
Refreshments will be served. Find out more about this event at this link.
Museum exhibit highlights Nowruz traditions
In addition, the museum, located at 150-2248 McAllister Ave. in PoCo, will be hosting an exhibit about Nowruz.
Produced as a partnership between PoCo Heritage, the organizer of PoCo’s annual Sizdah Bedar celebration, Medi Tavassoli, and Leila Varasteh, this exhibit highlights major aspects of the holiday including the Haft-seen table, Chaharshanbe Suri (the fire festival) and Sizdah Bedar (nature day).
Crafted by Leila Varasteh, the Haft-seen table feature symbols of Nowruz.
Haft-seen arrangements are a common feature in celebrating households and typically contain seven symbolic items and some additional elements that embody the values and hopes of the holiday.
Although the exact components can vary, a display might include items such as an apple which symbolizes health and beauty, garlic for protection and good health, and hyacinth for the spring time.
Meanwhile, B.C.'s premier is also commenting on Nowruz. Premier David Eby has issued the following statement in celebration of Nowruz:
"Millions of people in British Columbia and around the world will gather with family, friends and neighbours to celebrate Nowrouz, the Iranian/Persian new year.
"Nowruz means 'new day' and marks the start of spring. It's a time for renewal, reflection and reconnection.
"Nowruz transcends borders and unifies people of different ethnicities, cultures and religions, all with their own timeless traditions.
"People may gather to feast, set the Haft-Seen table or jump over bonfires to cleanse their souls.
"This year, in the aftermath of Mahsa Amini's death and the human rights protests that ensued, we recognize that many people in Iran will celebrate Nowruz differently. For many Iranians, this year's celebrations are considered an act of defiance to preserve and cherish their cultural traditions."