‘Feast of charity’ to be held virtually amid pandemic

February 28, 2021 - 15:10

TEHRAN – ‘Feast of charity’, a campaign held prior to the Iranian New Year celebration each year helping families having a hard time addressing their essential needs, will be held virtually this year nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nationwide event, called Jashn-e Nikoukari, opens annually a few days before the Iranian New Year, starting usually on March 21, and lasts for three days soliciting contributions to help those underprivileged who can barely afford a living.

The event also aims at encouraging humanitarian efforts and altruistic behaviors among the public.

Unlike all the previous years that many people referred to schools and mosques to provide deprived families with cash handouts, commodities, or clothes, this year, coronavirus changed the event to an online contribution preventing gatherings.

This year, the charity celebration will be held on March 3, with the cooperation of a virtual education system called SHAD; and on March 4 by setting up a fundraising base in the main squares of each city and on March 5 in Friday prayers.

Also, the SMS system, different applications, and websites are other ways to participate in the celebration.

Last [Iranian calendar] year (March 2019-March 2020), some 75,000 centers collecting donations have been established in the country thanks to the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation.

Such charity events would certainly encourage altruistic behaviors and generosity in society. Particularly encouraging the youngsters to practice giving even though this brings no advantage to them would result in bringing up a caring generation.

Social distancing replaces big gatherings

Noruz, Yalda Night - which takes place on the longest night of the year, Sadeh Festival and Chaharshanbeh Souri - in praise of the spring, are examples of such ceremonies that were affected by the pandemic.

This year, people lost the opportunity to celebrate the big occasions as always in gatherings, from Noruz to different festivals or religious ceremonies which all held avoiding gatherings.

The outbreak reached its peak concurrent with the Iranian New Year celebration (March 21, 2020), making Noruz different from years and even centuries ago.

However, in Sizdah Bedar, people were also asked to stay at home and resist picnicking outdoor to break the chain of coronavirus transmission, and they were successful in curbing the disease.

Sizdah Bedar, also known as Nature Day, is an Iranian festival held annually on the thirteenth day of Farvardin, the first month of the Iranian calendar (falling on April 1 this year), during which Iranians reconcile with nature by spending time in resorts, gardens, and natural areas. It marks the end of the Noruz holidays in Iran.

In the light of the global pandemic, Christmas was also celebrated virtually, unlike usual gatherings, among Iranian Christians.

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