The Halifax waterfront was crowded and colourful Sunday, and drew even more people than usual with a celebration of Tirgan, a popular summer festival marked by Iranians around the world.

It's different from Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting observed by Muslims. Ramadan and Tirgan coincide this year.

"Eid is a religious thing where the celebration of this kind of event is mainly cultural," says Amir Nejat, of the Iranian Cultural Society.

Tirgan festival

Dancers perform at the Tirgan festival Sunday in Halifax (CBC)

It is the second year that the society has featured the festival. The first time was in 2015.

Tirgan pre-dates the Islamic faith, Nejat said. It stems from a legend in which Iran and Turan, two long-standing enemies, decided to declare peace by drawing the boundaries between the two empires. An Iranian archer shot an arrow which, according to legend, flew from dusk until dawn and expanded the boundaries of that empire throughout the region with its many diverse cultures.

Tirgan is a celebration of diversity, he said.

Iranian dance

Young women perform a traditional Iranian dance at the Tirgan festival on the Halifax waterfront Sunday. (CBC)

On Sunday, there were performances of music and dance on the waterfront stage as well as booths with food, art and clothing.

"The integral part of all Iranian festivals is food, culture, dance, music," Nejat said.

The festival is huge in Toronto, drawing up to 150,000 people, he said.

"We are a shorter version but we are trying hard to get there."

Iranian children

Children in traditional Iranian dress are shown at the Tirgan festival on the Halifax waterfront Sunday. (CBC)

With files from Jerri Southcott