1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 148, Issue 147

Thursday, March 21, 2013
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Festival of Navroz

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, Navroz Mubarak to all of you. Today is a very special day for many religious and cultural communities, particularly Shia Muslim communities. Today, March 21, marks the celebration of the Festival of Navroz, which means “the new day” in Persian. The festival marks the beginning of a new year, the first day of spring.

The Festival of Navroz dates back 3,000 years when astrologers of King Jamshid, the mythical Iranian king, determined that March 21 marks the vernal equinox, when day and night are exactly equal. Following this discovery, he declared March 21 to be Navroz, the first day of the Iranian calendar.

Navroz was initially observed by the Persians but is now celebrated in various geographical regions, including Central and South Asia, North America and Europe. In many countries, Navroz is a national holiday.

On Navroz, families and friends gather to greet each other, exchange gifts and share a festive meal. Adherents of many faiths, including Muslims, Zoroastrians and Baha’is, attend their place of worship to offer prayers and gratitude and celebrate with their communities. They often enjoy delicacies, including sweets, dried fruit, nuts and grains, which symbolize blessings of abundance and prosperity. Homes are also cleaned and decorated and new clothes are worn, signifying the cleansing of one’s mind, body and spirit. Every community celebrates the beginning of the spring season in their own unique ways.

The extraordinary feature of Navroz is its symbolic meaning: When winter ends, spring ushers in new life. It is time for physical and spiritual revival, and a time to renew our commitment to deeply rooted Canadian values of peace and brotherhood.

Celebrating the new year offers an important opportunity to reflect on last year’s successes and challenges and to remember those who are less fortunate and vulnerable. Let us hope in the new year there will be a better world of humanity — a world of peace, hope and security.

Honourable senators, on this auspicious and joyous festival, please join me in wishing Canadians who celebrate Navroz a very happy Navroz Mubarak.