Skip to content

North Shore ready to celebrate Nowruz together again after COVID-19 pandemic

With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, in person events can be held to celebrate Persian New Year, Nowruz.
Pooneh Dancing Queen Horiz PM web
Pooneh Alizadeh, a.k.a. The Dancing Queen, will be performing at the Canadian Iranian Foundation’s Nowruz Gala and Fundraiser at the Pinnacle Hotel in North Vancouver March 19.

After years of celebrating virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nowruz events are being held across the North Shore once again to celebrate Persian New Year and the usher in of the first day of spring.

For Hamid Najian, vice-president of the Iranian-Canadian Congress, it’s exciting that events can go on and people can gather once again.

Organizing the annual Chaharshanbe Suri (Fire Festival), held at Ambleside Park this coming Tuesday (March 15) evening, Najian told the North Shore News that the congress has been putting on the celebration for more than 30 years.

“People have been waiting for this. And we haven't had it for the past two years. It's just like the restaurants – the moment they’re open, people are flying into the restaurants. They want to eat; they want to have some of the times that they used to have. They’ve missed those kinds of occasions,” he said.

Najian said the fire festival tradition has been happening for thousands of years, harking back to “old Persia,” where people would jump over flames on the last Tuesday night of the year, before the solstice, which arrives this year on March 20.

“The last night before the Wednesday comes … [they would] jump over the fire and they believe that all the bad luck and all the negativity will all be burned and gone for the year, and then they will start fresh, new,” he explained.

In a statement to the North Shore News, the District of West Vancouver said the event is culturally significant for the municipality because it supports the Iranian community, one of the largest in West Van.

“[It] provides an opportunity for all residents to learn about Iranian culture, celebrate the start of the Iranian calendar, and welcome spring,” the district said.

For Pooneh Alizadeh, a.k.a. The Dancing Queen, the last two years during the pandemic have been “really hard.” The artistic director of the Academy of Middle Eastern Dance in North Vancouver had to find ways to diversify her business, and now has more than 800 online dance students.

She’ll finally be performing in person again at the Canadian Iranian Foundation’s Nowruz Gala and Fundraiser on March 19 at the Pinnacle Hotel in Lower Lonsdale.

The Gala also includes performances by Bakara Band and Amed Dance Group. The event will also have a traditional haft-seen table, a dinner buffet, and a chance to win prizes during a 50/50 contest and silent auction.

All money raised on the night will go towards the Foundation’s 2022 scholarship program. More information and tickets for the event can be found here.