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Nowruz, the Persian New Year

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Jewish people celebrate New Year with Rosh Hashana, the Hindu people observe their New Year with Divali, and the Persians have Nowruz (No Ruz, Norooz). Celebrated on the first day of spring, March 21, for 13 days, Nowruz means "new day". Children love this holiday, because of a two-week vacation, wonderful treats, new clothes, and lots of fun with relatives and friends.

Preparations for the New Year start weeks in advance; the house needs to be ready for the celebrations, the sweets need to be made, and the wheat seeds and beans or lentils need to be planted. On New Year’s Eve the family gathers around the table for a special Nowruz dinner. It is the tradition to place seven objects, which begin with the letter S, on the table. This tradition is called Haft-Sin, which stands for Seven S’s. The objects chosen for the Nowruz table are symbols representing happiness, and good will. They are: an apple (seeb), bowl of vinegar (serkeh), a hyacinth flower (sonbul), green sprouts (sabzeh), money (sekeh), garlic (seer), and dried fruit (senjed). Besides the above listed, a mirror is placed on the table, to reflect a bright future. Coloured eggs are included, and symbolize new life. Candles, one for each family member, and the Koran are also placed on the table.

On the evening of the last Wednesday of the "previous" year, an old custom of jumping over bonfires is observed. Families and friends alike enjoy leaping over small fires, making wishes as they hop along. In Iran, families can build small bonfires in their yards. In the Vancouver area, this event is taken to a park in North Vancouver, where hundreds of people participate each year.

On Saturday, March 20 at 10:30 a.m. the Whistler Public Library is going to hold a program, for 3-6 year olds, celebrating Nowruz. All children and their caregivers are invited to attend this special program, and jump over Storytime fires with songs, rhymes and an accompanying craft. Pre-registration is recommended, as spaces are limited. Call the Library at 604-932-5564 for more information.

Friends of the Library AGM

The Whistler Friends of the Library will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday April 21 at 7 p.m. at the Library, 4329 Main Street. There will be a review of the year’s events, a presentation of the financial statements, an election of officers and a special resolution to change the constitution. For more information on how you can become a "Friend", call Jane Reid at 604-932-3665.

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