The Nowruz Bazaar; Celebrating the Iranian/Persian New Year in Oakville

Alam, Elmira & Afshin Akhoundpour behind table displays their Sabzeh - seven items beginning with S in Iranian to celebrate the New Year
The Nowruz Bazaar; Celebrating the Iranian/Persian New Year in Oakville
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Janet Bedford

Janet Bedford is a broker with Royal LePage in downtown Oakville, with 20 years of real estate experience. Along with helping her clients find the perfect home or sell their home, she is often found photographing the many events that take place in Oakville. She has written extensively for various publications.

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The Nowruz Bazaar, a party and a gathering of people, is celebrating the Iranian/Persian New Year Festival. It  took place in Oakville for the first time on March 13th and 14th.

lady holding watering can with flowers

“For me, says Elmira, Spring is waking up. the watering can symbolizes watering the trees and flowers.” Photo Credit: Janet Bedford

Always heralding the Spring season and, this year, beginning on March 20th at midnight, the families gather together in front of the “Haftsin”, the celebratory table, to pray for the New Year and to ask for whatever blessings they desire in the year that follows.

Baba Nowruz, a version of the European Santa Claus, gave the crowd a heart-warming performance at the Bazaar. He is a fictional character in Iranian folklore who appears in the streets at the beginning of Nowruz, in traditional costume and, of course, surrounded by traditional Iranian music! He brings the Iranians blessings and announces Spring with all its promise and hope.

A wonderful custom that was seen at the Nowruz Bazaar was the Haft-Seen also spelled as Haft Sīn (Persian: هفت‌سین‎‎, the seven seen’s). Elmira Akhoundpour, explains that “The display is a tabletop (sofreh) arrangement of seven symbolic items traditionally displayed at Nowruz, the Iranian new year. The haft seen table includes seven items all starting with the letter seen (س) in the Persian alphabet”.

Children sitting in front of a table

The Ceremonial Alter; the Haftsin Centre of the Nowruz New Year’s Celebration; Photo Credit: Janet Beford


The Haft Seen items are:

  1. Sabzeh (سبزه) – wheat, barley, mung bean or lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolizing rebirth
  2. Samanu (سمنو) – sweet pudding made from wheat germ – symbolizing affluence
  3. Senjed (سنجد) – dried oleaster Wild Olive fruit – symbolizing love
  4. Seer (سیر) – garlic – symbolizing medicine
  5. Seeb (سیب) – apple – symbolizing beauty and health
  6. Somāq (سماق) – sumac fruit – symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
  7. Serkeh (سرکه) – vinegar – symbolizing old-age and patience
Three ladies standing behind a table

Maryam Rostami. Sabrina Armahi & Parisa, Director of the Nowruz Celebration; Photo Credit: Janet Bedford

Like all ancient civilizations, culture constitutes the focal point and heart of Iranian civilization. The art, music, architecture, poetry, philosophy, traditions, and ideology of Iran have made it a continuously important nation in the global community. In fact, many Iranians believe their culture to be the one and only reason why their civilization has continuously survived thousands of years of plethoric calamities. (author unknown)

This year’s Iranian Nowruz Bazaar is the beginning of a new tradition. According to , the Nowruz Bazaar organizer, she says that “the Nowruz Bazaar will be repeated for years to come.” It was certainly a huge success. Elmira says, “For me, Spring is waking up – The watering can symbolizes to desire to water the flowers and trees and to tell them too, that it is time to wake up – a Nowruz Celebration!

two girls and one boy holding plaques

Nowruz Bazaar for Iranian New Year; Rojean. Layla & Romina, Photo Credit: Janet Bedford


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