Facets of Faith: Navroz - A Paragon of Festival Pluralism | The Ismaili Canada

Facets of Faith: Navroz - A Paragon of Festival Pluralism

March 8, 2021 | Canada

In this week's edition of Facets of Faith, join Dr. Mir Baiz Khan as he delves deep into the historical tradition of Navroz. It is an occasion that the Fatimid Imam-Caliphs recognized as an official public festival of great joy and revelries.

Navroz has been characterized by the Encyclopedia of Religion as: “the most widely celebrated, the longest, and the most colourful of Iranian festivals, and though inherited through Zoroastrian Persia, it is the only festival that is not confined to a single religious group”.

Navroz was re-established and reinterpreted by Zoroaster as a sacred occasion according to the tenets of his own faith. The Sassanid emperors (226-652 A.D.) continued the old tradition on more secular cultural grounds rather than a religious ceremony. This allowed all subjects to participate regardless of their religious affiliations. Navroz remains the most pluralistic festival to date. It is a national festival in Iran and celebrated with joy and festivities by communities in Afghanistan, throughout Central Asia, and in South Asia.


Dr. Mir Baiz Khan holds two Master’s degrees from the University of Karachi and the University of London, and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. He was also among the first cohort of scholars from the Institute of Ismaili Studies. In his career, he has been the head of the curriculum department as well as an education advisor for ITREB Pakistan. He has held several roles with Aga Khan Education Services Pakistan, he has been a consultant with AKF Canada, and he was the head of research and knowledge mobilization with ITREB Canada. Dr. Khan currently contributes to various publications as an independent scholar.


Dr. Mir Baiz Khan:

  • Ph.D. - University of Toronto
  • M.A. - (double) University of Karachi and University of London
  • IIS - Alumni of the first cohort of scholars


  • ITREB - Pakistan, Head of Curriculum Department
  • ITREB - Pakistan, Education Advisor for Northern Areas and Chitral
  • AKF - Canada Consultant and AKES, Pakistan, Chief Commissioning Officer of Higher Secondary School Project
  • AKES, Pakistan, founding Principal of the Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, Gilgit
  • AKES Pakistan, Chief Academic and Operation Officer in Northern Areas and Chitral
  • ITREB Canada, Head of Research and Knowledge Mobilization


  • Independent - Scholar, contributing to various publications
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