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Here's how to ring in the Persian New Year on the North Shore

Nowruz festivities are typically spread across 13 days to coincide with the spring equinox
Nowruz fire jumping pits have become an annual staple for local New Year’s celebrations. | Nick Laba / North Shore News

The arrival of spring marks the arrival of a number of vibrant celebrations as Nowruz, the Persian New Year, is welcomed locally.

The North Shore libraries are actively participating in Nowruz with a plethora of special events and programs, traditional fire festivals are taking place across the North Shore and a scattering of other events are providing an interesting route to engage with Iranian culture.

For the full list, see below.

Storytime North Vancouver City Library

The city library promises to engage, educate, and entertain with its storytime event for kids, with hosts singing songs, delivering rhymes, and reading books in Farsi and English. A haft-seen table, a table arrangement of seven symbolic items, will be on display in the lobby March 16 until March 30.

Nowruz storytime, NVCL, March 16, 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Fun In Farsi at the West Vancouver Memorial Library

Alongside showcasing its annual haft-seen table, the WVML will also be hosting Fun In Farsi Storytime on April 6. The fit-for-all-the-family event invites guests to hear stories, sing songs, and learn new fingerplays and rhymes in both Persian and English (no previous language experience required). There is a fairly robust selection of books for both kids and adults, and an opportunity to get even better engaged with Farsi via the upcoming poetry night readings – a series that begins March 14 and continues until June.

Throughout March, West Vancouver Memorial Library

Conversations and Connections at North Vancouver District Public Library 

Over at the District of North Vancouver, the library is inviting guests into a discussion on the annual holiday via Conversations and Connections. The event, taking place in the Program Room on the ground floor of the Lynn Valley space, delves into the history, traditions and cultural importance of Nowruz – and it comes with refreshments.

NVDPL Lynn Valley Branch, March 21, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. For further event information visit the library’s website.

Fire Jumping Festival at the Pipe Shop

For the first time the Pipe Shop is putting on its very own Nowruz celebrations, kicking off with a fire jumping festival March 12. Those hoping to lay down some moves will enjoy the entertainment, with traditional dance and Iranian, Azary, Kurdish, Afghan and even First Nations musicians set to take part. A three-day market will also run at the space March 15-17.

The Pipe Shop, March 12, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Visit the venue’s site for more information.

Create and Connect at MONOVA 

Teachers from Farsi language school Roshana will lead storytelling and craft sessions from morning until mid afternoon on Sunday, March 24. Guests can kick back and listen to Pansies of Uncle Nowruz, a traditional tale that talks of the smooth transition into spring, while the children get stuck in with the collaborative group artwork program. 

MONOVA, March 24, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Lost Pieces of a Marriage Story at the Centennial Theatre 

So you’ve visited a haft-seen table and you’ve witnessed traditional fire jumping, what next? While not directly linked to Nowruz, the latest show at Centennial Theatre does serve as a fine way to engage with Iranian culture while celebrations are taking place. Lost Pieces of A Marriage Story, directed by Vancouver’s Mohammad Rahmanian, is a comedic romp on the intricacies of marriage.

Centennial Theatre, March 10. For more information and to book, visit the theatre’s website.

Nowruz Fire Festival at Ambleside

Held by the Iranian Canadian Congress of Canada each March for almost three decades, the Nowruz Fire Festival at Ambleside has become a staple of local annual celebrations. The free event hosts live musical acts, food trucks and the fire jumping pit, a tradition that symbolizes good health and luck for the year ahead. The fire jumping area will be open from 5 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

Ambleside Park, March 12, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. For more information visit the district’s website.

AMED Dance Academy performance at city hall 

Classic Middle Eastern dance takes centre stage at the Civic Plaza beside North Vancouver City Hall mid-March, with a vibrant production set to be performed by the AMED Dance Academy. Those stopping should also be sure to visit the haft-seen table on display, located near the 14th Street entrance from March 13 to 31.

North Vancouver City Hall, March 22, 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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