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Free food, traditional entertainment part of Nowruz celebration in New West

Spotlight on: Nowruz – Persian new year
Roqiya Ahmadi and Mohammad Amin Ahmadi and their children Farzona, Farazod, Feresatah and Farhod have found various ways of helping out their New West neighbours.

What’s happening?

Mohammad Amin Ahmadi and Roqiya Ahmadi are inviting community members to join their family in celebrating Nowruz.

What’s Nowruz?

March 21 is Nowruz, a festive celebration marking the first day of spring. It’s also known as the Persian new year.

“Nowruz means ‘new day.’ It has been celebrated by many Persian and Central Asian communities for over 3,000 years to mark the new year,” said the couple in an email to the Record. “Nowruz falls on the vernal equinox (the first day of spring) when the hours of daylight and nighttime are almost equal. About 300 million people worldwide celebrate the Nowruz festival every year. Everyone comes together to celebrate the beginning of the year where bad leaves and good comes.”

Who are they?

Mohammd Amin Ahmadi is the CEO of Social Forum Hope/Hope Omid, a non-profit organization established in 2016.

“For seven years we have been supporting all those in need in Canada and Afghanistan in every single way we are capable of,” said the couple. “From 2016 until now, we have also been celebrating all holidays, events and celebrations from both Canada and Afghanistan.”

Last year, the Ahmadi family worked with the New Westminster Museum to create a display for Nowruz. They also made 100 goody bags for visitors to the museum.

What’s happening this year for Nowruz?

The Ahamadis are holding a small event to help local residents experience the joy of Nowruz.

“We want to invite everyone to come and join us together to celebrate the arrival of spring and the new year while we share our culture with you all,” said the couple. “The event will include Persian food, traditional music, and gifts per family.”

The March 21 event is taking place today from 4 to 6 p.m. at 20-825 McBride Blvd. – in the retail complex behind McDonald’s at Eighth Avenue and McBride Blvd.

Prior to COVID, the couple usually held a celebration in Queen’s Park. This year’s event will be taking place outside the Hope Donation Store (a thrift store) they run as part of their non-profit.

“Everyone is more than welcome to come celebrate with us,” Roqiya told the Record. “There will be traditional music, Persian food – rice with meat, salad, drinks, sweets, and each family will receive a small gift from us!”

What does the province say about Nowruz?

The province joins Persian, Afghan, Kurdish, Zoroastrian, Baha'i, Central Asian and Ismaili communities in British Columbia and 300 million people around the world in celebrating Nowruz, said Premier John Horgan in a statement about Nowruz.

"Nowruz is a time of renewal. Old chapters are closed while new beginnings are embraced. As we emerge from a global pandemic, this sense of regeneration will be more keenly felt as we once again return to familiar celebrations with friends and family,” he said. “On behalf of all British Columbians, I wish families around the province a happy and healthy year ahead. I join with you in a feeling of optimism on this first day of spring and the hope for a brighter future it brings.”

Follow Theresa McManus on Twitter @TheresaMcManus

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