Posted on Mar 21, 2017

Member's Statement: Nowruz

Ms McKitrick: Mr. Speaker, this day is not only the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, but it is also Nowruz, celebrated by people from western Asia, central Asia, the Caucasus Mountains, the Black Sea area, and the Balkans. Nowruz is also celebrated by people of the Baha’i and Zoroastrian faiths.

It has been a joy in my life to be introduced to many faiths and beliefs and to participate in celebrating important festivals. About 15 years ago I helped a hospital develop a religious and spiritual care department, and I had the opportunity to obtain a deeper understanding of many faiths and religious beliefs.

In Sherwood Park we have a Baha’i community, and I introduced some members to this Assembly earlier on. Nowruz is the traditional festival of spring, which starts at the exact moment of the vernal equinox. Traditions vary, depending on country of origin and faith, but like most celebrations it involves food and visits with families and friends. Of relevance, I think, to the hon. members of this Assembly is the belief that whatever a person does on Nowruz will affect the rest of the year. If a person is warm and kind to their relatives, friends, and neighbours on Nowruz, then the new year will be a good one. On the other hand, if there are fights and dis-agreements, the year will be a bad one. So let’s make sure that today we all have a good year.

The Baha’i faith has been present in Canada since 1898. It is based on the teaching of Baha’ullah, who taught that there is only one God, that there is only one human family, and that all major religions represent unfolding chapters in God’s teaching for human-kind. Baha’is undertake various community-building initiatives aimed at empowering the residents of their communities to take charge of their own spiritual, social, and intellectual development. Members of the Sherwood Park Baha’i congregation are very involved in the Strathcona County Diversity Committee, for example.

I encourage all members of the Assembly to help me wish Nawruz Mubarak or happy new year to the Baha’I, Zoroastrian and Persian communities.

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