Chaharshanbeh-Suri: Iran’s festival of fire

March 13, 2018

TEHRAN – This evening, millions of Iranians will make bonfires at sunset and jump over the fire till midnight to observe Chaharshanbe-Suri, a week before Noruz, the New Year holidays.

A fire festivity, Chaharshanbeh-Suri is held on the night before the last Wednesday of the year when families and friends gather by bunches of open fires and keep them lit till dawn.

Narratives say that ancient Iranians originally observed Chaharshanbeh-Suri in a bid to ward off all the misfortunes and bad omens with hopes that their wishes would come true.

People chant “Give me your fiery red color and take back my wintry sallowness,” while they are jumping over open fires. In short, the festivity may symbolize a euphoria of nature on the eve of spring.

People jump over bunches of fire during a Chaharshanbeh-Suri festival in Tehran.

In ancient Persia, fire was deemed as a sacred element, a belief that modern Zoroastrians still adhere to. The fire has been supposed to give people its warmth and energy and take away their paleness, sickness and problems in return.

A negative aspect

Over the past couple of years, Chaharshanbeh-Suri has been somehow turned into nightmare for many because it is has been given new definitions.

Narratives say that ancient Iranians originally observed Chaharshanbeh-Suri in a bid to ward off all the misfortunes and bad omens with hopes that their wishes would come true.

Earsplitting bangs dominate everywhere, caused by loud explosion of fireworks from locally-made firecrackers to imported ones. The city feels like being under siege; fireworks go off every second, shaking windows.

Each year, hundreds of people are burned and injured so that to be on the safe side many prefer to stay at home before nightfall.

A couple is about to release a special balloon to mark Chaharshanbeh-Suri festival in Tehran.

On the other hand, there are also strong calls by the police, officials and celebrities among social campaigns that call for having a right approach to the event.

Chaharshanbeh-Suri may be observed as an uneventful salute to the New Year and lastly being delivered to the future generations.

More on Noruz

The Iranian New Year holidays, or Noruz, is the longest, oldest and most cherished festival on the nation’s calendar. Perhaps the most enduring image of the event is mostly about socializing, deepening family bonds and meeting up with old friends mostly in their homes.

A clean house, new clothes and special spring dishes and food are amongst traditional ways to celebrate Noruz.

AFM/MQ/MG

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