Government of Canada

Government of Canada

March 20, 2008 15:00 ET

Statement by the Hon. Jason Kenney, PC, MP, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity) on Now Ruz

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 20, 2008) -

Greetings to everyone celebrating Now Ruz, the Persian New Year.

Now Ruz, which means 'new day,' is celebrated around the world by Iranians, Afghanis, and others. It takes place at the exact time of the spring equinox, symbolizing the renewal of the seasons and life.

The holiday starts the Iranian year, lasts for 13 days, and is Zoroastrian in origin. Celebrations include the 2,000 year-old custom of setting the haft seen table: haft is the Persian word for seven, and seen corresponds to the Persian letter 's.' Seven items beginning with 's' are placed on the haft seen table. They symbolize the happiness and prosperity a family hopes to have in the upcoming year.

During the 13 days, families visit each other, gifts are given to young children, and special food and sweets mark the occasion. The 13th day, seezdah bedar, which ends the holiday, must be spent outside of the house, symbolizing taking out the old and bad and bringing back the new and good.

Now Ruz provides Canadians with an excellent opportunity to appreciate how much people of Persian heritage have contributed to this country's diverse heritage.

As the Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity), I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone celebrating Now Ruz a healthy and happy holiday.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Jason Kenney, PC, MP,
    Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity)
    Alykhan Velshi
    Director of Communications