03/19/2012 10:24 EDT | Updated 05/19/2012 05:12 EDT

Nowrouz events in the Lower Mainland

Vancouver's Iranian community will be celebrating Nowrouz, or Persian New Year on Tuesday, with a host of events in and around the city including parties, cultural festivals, picnics and film screenings.

Nowrouz takes place on March 20, the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in the Iranian calendar. The origins of the Zoroastrian spring festival are believed to be over 3,000 years old, and it is considered a holy day for several faiths.

Iranians gear up for the equinox with events throughout the month and continue celebrating for 13 days afterwards. Preparations include housecleaning, sprouting lentil or barley seeds and stocking up on delicacies.

On New Year's Day, families celebrate for 12 hours by visiting friends and family and giving gifts.

Celebrations wrap up with a day-long picnic, Sizdah Bidar, on the 13th day.