Source: Islamic Republic News Agency, Tehran
Tonight the Iranian people will
celebrate the ancient festival of fire or Chahar-Shanbeh Soori in all Iranian
cities. Chahar-Shanbeh Soori, literally means 'Red Wednesday', is an ancient
festival, dating back to 4000 years ago since the early Zoroastrian era, which
is still celebrated the night before the last Wednesday of the year.
The word Chahar Shanbeh means Wednesday and Soori is red.
On this occasion people make bonfires on the streets and jump over them. The streets coming alive with children and people as families spill out of their homes and greet each other.
The young use much firework before and during the Chahar-Shanbe Soori.
In Chahar-Shanbeh Soori, bonfires are made in the streets and some times in the yards.
Based on Zoroastrain tradition the
number of bonfires at any place should be three representing the three holy
values including: Good thoughts, Good words, and Good deeds.
A bonfire can also be made in a single spot and this would symbolize unity and solidarity of Ahura.
Then someone is the first to go, taking a running start and jumping over the fire they say 'Sorkhie to az man, Zardieh man az to'.
This rhyme complements this ancient purification ritual where the healthy glow of the fire is beseeched to bless the person and to take away all their sickness.
Another traditional practice in Chahar-Shanbeh Soori is that people, most often children and young adults, wear strange dresses and sometimes wrap themselves up in sheets to symbolize the shrouds of the dead and go to the street with pots and pans to create a cacophony you will never forget.
As the saying goes, they could wake the dead! And that's pretty much the intention; this ancient ritual is said to ward off evil spirits.
Then the kids go door to door to receive Chahar-Shanbeh Soori nuts, chocolates and so on.
During ancient times, Iranians used to light fire on the roof by burning left belongings of the dead family members attracting and persuading their soul to come back and stay with them for a night.
The reason for making fire was to invite soul of dead people in order to keep satanic soul or Ahriman far from the family gathering which is considered as a private community.
Due to existence of this belief, houses were cleaned and dust was removed from houses of Iranians just in case make the invited soul happy and prove that the departed members are still enjoying their life in the other world and making people sure that there is no need to be worried about because all the sadness have been put aside by cleaning the house.
The tradition is still observed by the Iranian people, however after domination of Islam, the form of this tradition has somehow changed and people go to cemeteries and wash the graves of the dead family members and relatives instead of lighting fire on the roofs.
Today after more than four millennia, joy of Wednesday or Chahar-Shanbeh Soori is one of the most popular events amongst the Iranian people.
Although Chahar-Shanbeh Soori has its roots in ancient Zoroastrian fire festival, it is still maintained in Persian societies all over the world.
However, nowadays young people in Iran have a different opinion about this festival and the way it is celebrated is quite different from what was practiced during ancient times.
Sometimes people light very huge fires which make you feel that the whole city is burning.
In addition to huge flames, some times young adults make small bombs and fire crackers which make loud noise and unfortunately sometimes cause lots of horrific accidents.
... Payvand News - 03/17/09 ... --