Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

March 20, 2009 13:45 ET

Statement: Minister Kenney Issues Statement on Nowruz

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 20, 2009) - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement on Nowruz, the Persian New Year:

"Tomorrow is Nowruz, which marks the beginning of the year 1388 on the Persian calendar.

"Nowruz, which means 'new day,' is celebrated around the world by Persians and many others. It is an official observance in Iran and Afghanistan, as well as other nations of Central and Western Asia, taking place at the exact time of the spring equinox and symbolizing the renewal of the seasons and the renewal of life.

"For those celebrating in Canada, Nowruz is a time to visit family and friends, sharing gifts and special foods. On Sizdah be-dar, the 13th and final day of Nowruz festivities, it is traditional to spend the day outdoors. This serves to clear the mind of bad thoughts and feelings and replace them with feelings of joy and solidarity.

"A prominent feature of Nowruz celebrations is the 2,000 year-old custom of setting the haft sin table: haft is the Persian word for seven, and sin corresponds to the Persian letter 's.' Seven symbolic items beginning with 's' are placed on the haft sin table.

"For all Canadians, Nowruz provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the tremendous contributions that people of Persian heritage have made to this country's rich and diverse heritage.

"As Prime Minister Harper has said, 'Pluralism is the principle that binds our diverse peoples together.'

"As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone celebrating Nowruz a healthy and happy holiday."

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