SearchPersian New Year festivities kick off in British Columbia

Persian New Year festivities kick off in British Columbia ... 13/03/2015 Culture

Keywords:#2015, #British, #Columbia, #Farsi, #Fatemeh, #Iran, #Iranian, #Nowruz, #Persian, #Sabzeh

John Kurucz / Tri-Cities Now
March 12, 2015 04:15 PM
Revellers take in last year’s Nowruz festivities at Coquitlam’s Glen Park. Photograph By Submitted photo

* * * Fire, re-birth and harmony will fill Coquitlam’s Glen Park in the coming weeks as hundreds of Iranians come together for annual Nowruz festivities.
The celebrations highlighting the Persian New Year kick off on the evening of Tuesday, March 17 with Charshanbe Suri, or the Festival of Fire.
Loosely translated as Wednesday Light, the Iranian festival dates back centuries and serves as a prelude to the kickoff of Nowruz, which marks the arrival of spring the following week.
The celebration usually starts in the evening, with people making bonfires in the streets and jumping over them singing “zardi-ye man az toh, sorkhi-ye toh az man.” The literal translation is “my yellow is yours, your red is mine,” which translates to “May my sickly pallor be yours and your red glow be mine.”
Bonfires won’t be lit locally, and revellers will instead use propane-generated flames for a festival seen as a means to purify and cleanse.
“The people jumping over the fire believe that fire has positive energy and they can get that positive energy fire and leave the negative energy behind in the flames,” said Fatemeh Zakeri, chair of the Tri-City Iranian Cultural Society. “Yellow means sickness and negative energy and the red in the fire means healthy and positive things that you can get from the fire.”
Running from 6 to 10 p.m., the event will include dancing, vendors, and traditional Iranian food.
Fast forward to March 23, and Nowruz celebrations will again take place at Glen Park from noon to 6 p.m.
Nowruz ceremonies are symbolic representations of two ancient concepts — the end and the rebirth, or good and evil, and the word itself is made up of two Persian words. The first word “now” means new and the second word “ruz” means day, together forming the term “New Day.”
A part of observing Nowruz includes the laying out of the Haft Seen table. Seven items are placed on the table, all starting with the sound of the letter S in Farsi to recognize a higher cultural significance: Sabzeh (grown wheat or lentil) for rebirth; Samanu (flour and sugar) for sweetness of life; Sekeh (coin) for prosperity and wealth; Senjed (dried fruit of Lotus tree) for love; Sir (garlic) or Seeb (apples) for good health; Somaq (sumac crushed spice of berries) for health and beauty and Serkeh (vinegar) for patience and age.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re from Iran or Persian, many people from different areas are welcome to celebrate Nowruz,” Zakeri said. “We are always open to answering questions from different cultures.”

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