Nowruz: Iranian New Year

Persian Nowruz Haft-sin table, with garlic, [painted eggs, goldfish, apples, vinegar, book, pomegranate seeds, sumac, hyacinth, a coin, a mirror and a candle
Nowruz haft-sin table. Image by Gabriele M. Reinhardt from Pixabay

Today, 20 March 2021 is Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. This ancient tradition has been celebrated for over 3000 years.

It is said that Persian king Jamsid saved the world from a winter that threatened to kill everything and everyone. He had a throne made from gems, and had demons raise him into the sky where he shone like the sun.

People from Iran and Central Asia often have a table in their house with various items (similar to the picture) symbolising the new year, growth and prosperity. There are various other new year customs, which you can read about here.

Census — Sunday 21 March 2021

census 2021 logo

The national census is happening on Sunday 21 March 2021.

The census happens every 10 years, and is a snapshot of the whole population. It allows the government to plan where it needs to spend its money. The census is how the government actually finds out about the people living in the country.

For example, if an area has a population that is increasing, then the government (at all levels) needs to plan for more schools, more housing, etc for that area. Or if an area has an aging population, then they may decide that the area needs improved care services.

We strongly urge all people to fill out the census – it means that you are more likely to get the services that you need. All responses are confidential and protected by law so you can’t be identified.

This year it will be done online mostly. You should be receiving a letter from the government with instructions and an access code.

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International Women’s Day

Happy Women's Day
Image by Susan Cipriano from Pixabay

We would like to wish all women a happy International Women’s Day, which commemorates the social, cultural, political and economic contributions of women everywhere.

We also think about all the work that still needs to be done for full equality of women with men, including such things as violence against women, casual sexism, pay inequality, and other forms of gender inequality.