Photos by Sajjad Safari, Mehr News Agency
Thousands of Iranians gathered at dusk against a snowy mountain backdrop to light giant bonfires in an ancient mid-winter festival dating back to Iran's pre-Islamic past that is drawing new interest from Muslims. Saturday's celebration was the first in which the dwindling remnants of Iran's once plentiful Zoroastrian religious minority were joined by thousands of Muslims, reflecting a growing interest in the strict Islamic society for the country's ancient traditions. (read the report by AP; read report by Mehr --in Persian)
Sadeh is an ancient Iranian tradition celebrated 50 days before nowrouz (Persian New Year). Sadeh in Persian means "hundred" and refers to one hundred days and nights left to the beginning of the new year celebrated at the first day of spring on March 21 each year. Sadeh is a mid winter festival that was celebrated with grandeur and magnificence in ancient Iran. It was a festivity to honor fire and to defeat the forces of darkness, frost, and cold.
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