Nowruz Messages from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and US President Barack Obama

STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER STEPHEN HARPER

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, seen walking past the water pond of the Park located between the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum during the opening ceremony in September 2014 of the two cultural landmarks built by the 49th Ismaili Imam. Photo: The website of the Prime Minister of Canada, www.pm.gc.ca.

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, seen walking past the water pond of the Park located between the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum during the opening ceremony in September 2014 of the two cultural gems built by the 49th Ismaili Imam. Photo: The website of the Prime Minister of Canada. See photo and video links below.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper on March 21, 2015 issued the following statement on the celebration of Nowruz:

“Laureen and I would like to offer our best wishes to everyone celebrating Nowruz both here in Canada and around the world.

“Nowruz, or ‘new day,’ is a festival that has been celebrated for thousands of years by Persian, Kurdish, Central Asian and Ismaili communities. It marks the beginning of spring and a New Year, and is an opportunity to reflect upon the past year, recognize good fortune, and look to the year ahead with hope. Our Government shares your optimism for the future and will continue to work to help create a year of peace and prosperity for all Canadians.

“Nowruz traditions include a spring cleaning of the home, preparation of the haft-seen table, the gathering of families and friends to share meals and gifts, as well as musical and dance performances. In addition, shortly before Nowruz bonfires are lit and individuals recite a special phrase that helps to symbolically carry away the hardships of the past year with the flames.

“Nowruz is an opportunity for all Canadians to learn about the ancient Persian festival and recognize the important contributions of Iranian-Canadian, Central Asian and Ismaili communities to building a peaceful, pluralistic and prosperous Canada.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I wish everyone celebrating Nowruz a happy and healthy New Year.

“Nowruzetan Pirouz!”

For more photos and a comprehensive 10 minute video of the opening ceremony of the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, please click on the following links:

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MESSAGES BY FIRST LADY, MRS MICHELLE OBAMA, AND PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

President Barack Obama hugs First Lady Michelle Obama in the Red Room of the White House prior to the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) reception on March 20, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama hugs First Lady Michelle Obama in the Red Room of the White House prior to the National Newspaper Publishers Association reception on March 20, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Excerpts from remarks by the First Lady, Mrs. Michelle Obama, at the White House on March 11, 2015:

“I think it’s so fitting that we’re holding this celebration here today because one of my favorite things about the White House is how it is truly the People’s House — a house that reflects the diversity of culture and traditions that make us who we are as a country. And Nowruz is one of those traditions.

“For more than 3,000 years, families and communities in the Middle East, Asia, and all around the world, including here in the United States, have celebrated this holiday to mark the renewal of the earth in springtime — and we’re finally feeling spring! To reflect on the year before, and to make new commitments for good health, prosperity in the year ahead.

“And just like in many of your homes, we have created our own White House Haft-Seen. As you all know, Haft-Seen [see Simerg’s piece The Beautiful Nowruz (Navroz) Tradition of Haft Sin – ed.] essentially means “Seven S’s,” and each “S” represents a different hope for the New Year — a hope for blessings like patience and love and sweetness. For example, we’ve got grass sprouts that represent rebirth and renewal of nature. We’ve got an apple for health and beauty. We have crushed berry spice that represents the sunrise and the spice of life.”

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MESSAGE BY PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

Date posted: March 22, 2015

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