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Chaharshanbeh-Suri registered on Iran's intangible heritage list

TEHRAN, March 16 (Mehr News Agency) -- The old tradition of Chaharshanbeh-Suri (Fireworks Wednesday) was recently registered on Iran's intangible heritage list.

Chaharshanbeh-Suri is an old tradition of Iranians practiced every last Tuesday of Iranian calendar year. Iranian nation celebrate this evening tomorrow night by making fire and jumping over the fire, just a few days before the arrival of Noruz (March 21).

This tradition was registered on the national list in the presence of cultural heritage experts, helping to insure that this tradition not to be forgotten over the passage of time.

The historical documents indicate that people hold a ceremony on this day to ward off all the misfortunes and bad omens, hoping that their wishes will come true.

This ancient tradition like all the other ceremonies has its own special customs. Each family used to collect piles of bushes on the roof, in the yard or in alleys. At sunset, family members, old and young jumped over the fire singing several rhymes whose words asked the fire to take away all their pain, bad luck and illness, and bestow happiness and health upon them.

They believed that the ash of fire is ominous since people gave all their problems and illness to the fire and this had to be removed from their house. So the women used to take the ashes out of home and pour them into running water outside. On the way back home, they knocked on the door and say they are back from a wedding ceremony and are bringing health and happiness for the family.

There was this belief that making a fire in the house would help kill all the harmful beings inside and would clear the house of evil spirits. Afterwards, they threw the ashes in water so that it took all misfortunes away.

Afterwards, each family picked one pot and put coal as in it as a sign of bad luck, a little salt symbolizing the evil eye, and one coin symbolizing poverty. Then the pot was moved around the head of all family members and the last one would take the pot on the roof and throw it into the alley saying, "I throw away the misfortune and all bad luck to the alley."

Women and young girls used to go out of the home and stand by roads and pathways and secretly listen to what the passers by said. If they heard good and sweet words they felt their wishes would come true, if not, they would be disappointed.

Also at nights, girls used to pick up a bowl and one spoon and covering their faces, would go to the doors of neighboring houses and strike their bowls with their spoons as a gesture for home owners to put something in their bowls such as candies, sweets or some money.

Families who had a sick person in their homes also cooked a special soup called patient soup and gave some to the patient himself and also distributed the remainder among the poor, believing the soup would improve their health in the coming year.

Dried nuts were also distributed among passers by on this night by women who had made a wish, hoping it would come true. Of course, these days dried nuts are only one of the item served at home on this night.

The historical research works prove that all these ceremonies were mingled with good behaviors and morality and in all of them, a strong belief in God, hope for life, and struggle with the devil were observed.

None of the violent rituals of today like setting off firecrackers and throwing dangerous things into the air were seen in those days.

... Payvand News - 03/16/09 ... --

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