Saturday, March 23, 2019
10:00 am–5:00 pm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Free with Museum Admission

Happy Nowruz 1398 / 2019

Celebrate the Persian New Year! Learn about Nowruz traditions, explore Persian works of art, enjoy dance performances with Iranian modern dancer Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam, and view an impressive Haft Seen display!

All events are free with Museum admission.

Special Events

Haft Seen Display

10 am–5 pm, Shapiro Family Courtyard

Visit and view a traditional Haft Seen, a key element to any Nowruz celebration. This traditional arrangement includes seven symbolic items, all starting with the Persian letter sīn, or s.

Designed and organized by Farzaneh Fallah, Mojgan Olia, and Roya Touran.

Story Hour

10:30–11 am and 12:30–1 pm, Gallery 171

Drop in to enjoy family-friendly stories about Nowruz celebrations, including stories from Ferdowsi’s epic poem, Shahnameh, the Persian Book of Kings.

ASL Interpreted
12:30–1 pm

From Lalezar to Boston

11 am–Noon and 3–4 pm, Riley Seminar Room, 156

Enjoy an interactive show of traditional Iranian puppetry, or Kheimeh-shab-bazi, based on the characters Morshed and Moubarak, around themes of Nowruz. Written and directed by Asma Khoshmehr and Nikta Sabouri, with actors and musicians Caleb Lenihan, Pouya Shabanpoor, and Kasra Dalvand.

Artist Demonstration and Workshop

1–4 pm, Druker Family Pavilion, Room 159

Join Boston-area Uzbek artist Zilola Ashurova as she exhibits and discusses her suzani (needlework) and the history of silk embroidery from Uzbekistan. Try your hand as Zilola demonstrates.

ASL Interpreted
2–4 pm
Meet at Sharf Visitor Center

Nowruz Treats

Holiday treats will be available for purchase in the New American Café and Taste Café.

Music and Dance

Sharokh Moshkin Ghalam

1–2 pm and 3–4 pm, Remis Auditorium

Enjoy a multi-faceted performance based on Persian myths and poetry with Paris-based Iranian modern dancer Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam, joined by dancer Karine Gonzales and readings by Suzie Ziai in Persian and English.

Free performance ticket required.
Limited availability: first come, first served. Performance tickets available outside Remis Auditorium starting 60 minutes before show times.

Assistive Listening System

Nowruz Stayed Untouched

12:15 and 2:15 pm, Alfond Auditorium

Join composer and soprano Shooka Afshar, along with animators Leilei Xia and Xindi Zhang, as they portray stories of ancient Persia and the enduring traditions around celebrating Nowruz.

Free performance ticket required.
Limited availability: first come, first served. Tickets available at Alfond Auditorium ticket desk starting 30 minutes before show times.

Shirin Shahin: Azerbaijani Dance

12:15 and 2:15 pm, Shapiro Family Courtyard

Join Boston-born Shirin Shahin for an Azerbaijani dance performance with both traditional and modern elements. Shirin brings 15 years of experience, with styles ranging from ballroom to Iranian dance.

Aftab Dance Group

1:30 and 4:15, Shapiro Family Courtyard

Experience the varied cultures of Iran through a medley of Persian dance performed by Boston-based Aftab Dance Group, made up of students and young professionals.

Kamancheh Performance and Talk

12–1 and 2:30–3:30 pm, Gallery 250

Farzin Dehghan, an emerging kamancheh player, performs an array of Iranian folk songs demonstrating this bowed stringed instrument. Dehghan is joined by Darcy Kuronen, Pappalardo Curator of Musical Instruments, as he displays and discusses a highly decorated 18th-century kamancheh.

Tours and Talks

American Sign Language Tour

1 pm, Meet at Sharf Visitor Center

Learn about the MFA’s collection of Ancient Near Eastern and Persian art. Tour is 45 minutes and led by trained guides.

ASL only; no spoken English

Gallery Tour: Ancient Persia

11:15 am-Noon, Meet at Sharf Visitor Center

Go on a 45-minute tour in the galleries with Lawrence Berman, Norma Jean Calderwood Senior Curator of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian, and Near Eastern Art.

ASL Interpreted
Assistive Listening System

Talk: Preview the Arts of Islamic Cultures Gallery

1:30–2 pm, Riley Seminar Room, 156

Join Laura Weinstein, Ananda Coomaraswamy Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art, for a preview talk on the MFA’s Arts of Islamic Cultures Gallery opening in June.

Art-Making Activities

Egg Decorating

10 am–4 pm, Gallery 168

Check out the pitcher in Gallery 143 made out of a large ostrich egg. During Nowruz families decorate eggs to symbolize new life. Decorate your own plastic egg in celebration of the Persian New Year.

Blind or Low Vision Access
ASL Interpreted
2–4 pm
Meet at Sharf Visitor Center

Spring Flower Print

10 am–4 pm, Druker Family Pavilion, Room 160

Spring flowers, like hyacinths, tulips and daffodils, are traditionally put on the Haft Seen table. Make your own flower print to celebrate the New Year and the arrival of spring!

Blind or Low Vision Access
ASL Interpreted
2–4 pm
Meet at Sharf Visitor Center

Family Art Cart

10 am–4 pm, Shapiro Family Courtyard

Choose from activities designed to guide you through the galleries with fun facts, scavenger hunts, games, and more. Art Cards are available with tactile graphics, large print, and Braille.

Blind or Low Vision Access

Additional Resources

MFA Guide

Available at all ticket desks, Sharf Visitor Center, and the Gund Gallery, LG31

Rent a mobile MFA Guide to explore the Museum’s encyclopedic collection.

Nonmembers $6; Members $5; kids 17 and under $4. Free for visitors who are Deaf or blind.

Audio Description
ASL Interpreted
Assistive Listening System
Closed Captioning

MFA Citizens

Are you or is someone you know a new US citizen? Learn more at any ticket or Member desk.

New US citizens living in Massachusetts can receive a free one-year membership to the MFA. Just come to the Museum, show a copy or photo of your naturalization certificate at any ticket desk within one year of your swearing-in, and you will get a free Museum membership for one year.

Saturday, March 23, 2019


Presented with support from Azi Djazani, Mahmood Malihi, and Azita Bina and Elmar Seibel.