Mormons Join Muslims to Ring in the Persian New Year 

Mormons Join Muslims to Ring in the Persian New Year 

Additional Resource

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Potomac, Maryland, were invited by local Muslims to celebrate Norooz, meaning “New Day,” the new year festival for the first day of spring.

Bishop Frank D. Richards, a Washington, D.C. area leader of the Church, was the featured speaker at the event, held at the Islamic Education Center (IEC) in Potomac, Maryland.

 

Richards, bishop of the Potomac Ward (congregation of Latter-day Saints), spoke to over 1,000 area Mormons and Muslims about their common beliefs, including charity. He remarked that both faiths call each other brother and sister and live their religion seven days a week. He spoke of a Muslim colleague who prayed frequently throughout the day at work.

He quoted the Church’s First Presidency, who issued a declaration on February 15, 1978. In part, it reads: “The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed … received … moral truths … given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals.”

At its core, Norooz celebrates the awakening of the natural life with the hopeful spring. The Norooz celebration symbolizes rebirth, cleanliness and newness. This year the official Persian New Year began Monday, March 20, at 6:28 a.m., marking the spring equinox. Although Norooz originated in Iran over 3,000 years ago, today it is celebrated in India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and several countries in southern and central Asia.

Zahra Salaam, IEC public affairs representative, told Latter-day Saints, “You are here because you are our friends. We are thrilled.” The Mormons felt more than welcomed. “We were made to feel like honored guests by their generous hospitality throughout the evening,” observed Latter-day Saint Jeff Briggs.

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