Nowruz Paper Goldfish {Tutorial}

ACraftyArab Nowruz Paper GoldfishNowruz ( نوروزmeans “new day” in Persian) is the Iranian New Year. While there are some that view it as a religious event it is more commonly known as a secular holiday, celebrated by family and friends.

Nowruz occurs on the first day of spring, the vernal equinox, usually around March 21st. This begins the first day of the first month of the Persian calendar, Farvardin (فروردین in Persian).

To celebrate, people gather around a  Haft-sin table and await for an exact moment to celebrate the New Year. Items on the Half-sin table begin with the letter sin (س‎) and we have a made a few of them here: garlic, olives, apples.

An optional item for the table include goldfish, which represent life, and also the month of Pisces. Sadly a large number of goldfish are killed after Nowruz from families releasing them into nature.  Goldfish are a domesticated pet & many do not survive on their own and this is a large problem in Tehran.

Recently, to help shift the importance of adding a goldfish to the Half-Sin table, President Hassan Rohani delivered a Norouz message beside an orange in a fishbowl in lieu of a goldfish.

Hassan Rohani orange

I created a paper goldfish that I hope parents, educators and activities will help share so that kids can make their own goldfish.

Once the holiday is over, the paper can be recycled!


Gold card stock paper
Needle and thread

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I printed out the design at the bottom of this post on gold paper. My daughter cut out the main fish body outline, plus the tail and two fins. She didn’t cut any of the solid lines inside the fish body, they are guides for where to glue.

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She added a dab of glue to the back of the tab on one side of the fish body and linked it to the little line to the other side.

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While she waited for the glue to dry, she cut the line on the tail and then folded each side in the opposite direction, on the dotted lines. She also folded over the fins on the dotted lines.

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Now that the fish was dry, she added thread to her needed, made her to secure one end with a large knot and sewed it through all the little round ends of one side of the fish body. Make sure they are stacked, one on top of the other, in one direction. This will create the round shape.

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After pulling the needle through all the round ends, my daughter added a dap of glue between them to help hold the fish body shape. She made sure to leave extra thread for hanging the  goldfish.

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She sewed and glued the other end closed as well. Then glued on the tail and fins.

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Now her goldfish was done and ready to be enjoyed.

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Print out your goldfish here, and be sure to stop by other tutorials that teach about the Middle East on A Crafty Arab Pinterest.

ACraftyArab Nowruz Paper Goldfish Pin

Arabesque Paneled Fish {Tutorial} plus Arabic Stories {Book Review}

I recently received the book Arabic Stories for Language Learners: Traditional Middle Eastern Tales In Arabic and English, that includes an audio CD, from Tuttle Publishing.

This book is a collection of sixty-six traditional Middle Eastern tales. Each one is written in both in Arabic and English, on parallel pages, so anyone can follow along for easy learning of the language.

Some of the stories have a moral outcome, while others make light of a situation. The tales are full of narratives that include everyday people and also ones specific to Islamic culture.

What I found most helpful was the CD that was included with the book. I discovered myself listening to it mostly in the car, since I did not need the book to follow along.

My daughter was with me while we listened to the story of Fish Is Sold Herd and we both thought it was very funny how the fish seller was trying to post his fish sign. Everyone had their opinion to share with him about how it was done, so he just eventually ended up with no sign at all.

My daughter thought that maybe he needed a sign with no words, so she and I created a fish sign for the seller to use.


  • Card stock
  • Double sided tape
  • Xacto
  • Pen
  • Ruler
  • Beige card stock

My daughter started by drawing a fish silhouette. Since it was to be used as a sign, she tried to use up the entire page for the body.

She set aside her fish and started cutting the arabesque paper into one inch stripes.

After she had a number of pieces cut, she decided on a color scheme.

My daughter then cut the panels of paper to fit the outline of the fish with the Xacto.

Once the panels were cut out, she used the double sided tape to add them to the beige card stock.

This is what our completed fish looked like.

We placed into a frame to enjoy it longer.

Be sure to check out Arabic Stories for Language Learners: Traditional Middle Eastern Tales In Arabic and English to enjoy more Arab stories. Also, check out the Saudi Arabia Creamy Tomato and Chickpea Soup {Recipe} we made from another favorite book from Tuttle Publishing: The Arabian Nights Cookbook: From Lamb Kebabs to Baba Ghanouj, Delicious Homestyle Middle Eastern Cooking

Visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more tutorials that were inspired by books we love to read in our home.

Arabic Interleaved Napkin Rings {Tutorial}

These simple Arabic, paper, interleaved napkin rings were made for our recent dinner party, to help our multilingual friends know where to sit.

Our guests included visitors from Jordon, Syria, Libya and America, so we wanted to make everyone feel welcome.

I came up with this simple interleaved solution that allowed everyone’s Arabic name to be written on one side and the English on another, of two arabesque cut outs. They only took moments to create and our guests loved them so much, they all took theirs home.


Measure around your napkins to get an idea of how long you want your ring to be. Ours were around five inches, so I cut stripes of paper that length. The width was only a few inches, you can play around with this as well.

With the left over paper, I punched out some decorative shapes. I needed two for each napkin ring.

Next I took the scissors and cut the shapes half way down the middle.

To assemble the two pieces, add double sided tape to the end of the stripe of paper. Then write the name of the person and place the shape over the double sided tape, but only up to the cut line. To the same to the other side.

Now when the two ends are brought togehter, they will interleave into each other, creating a continuous circle to hold the napkin.

We made 10 of them in a few minutes. I can’t wait to try different shapes!

This is what our dinner table looked like, with the napkin rings & kofta ring.

If you enjoyed making these napkin rings, check out these other ways we decorated our dinner table

Be sure to visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more tutorials that teach about the Arab world or Muslim culture.