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


I am a Libyan American who creates art to promote a positive image of Arab and Islamic culture.