By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
Charshanbeh Sorui is one of Iran's oldest Iranian New year traditions and it takes place on the last Tuesday evening before the New Year. I remember it was one of those rare happy times that families got together, young and old, men and women came; and especially the children simply loved it.
In recent years we have missed the big Charshanbeh Sorui gatherings as we were mostly outside of Iran so we had to do with a small ceremony. Or if we were in Tehran, from fear of getting stuck in the traffic getting there and specially back home, we stayed at home and missed all the fun and joy of jumping over the fire and saying: "Your redness to me and my yellowness to you" (basically wishing for the glow and energy of the fire to come to the person who jumps over it and that for all the ills, badness and year long tiredness of the year to be taken from that person.
This is one of the most fun times for all, and usually some firecrackers are also used too to spice it up; but these days there are many other noisy and at times scary fireworks used that makes one jump!
When we are outside Iran, especially in the UK, we have a small celebration, invite a couple of friends and neighbors and prepare a barbeque. We find some wood or cardboard boxes, set them on fire in our small yard and jump over them; while our friends or neighbors watch us in total bemusement. But soon when they learn the tradition, they also join in jumping over the fire while saying "my yellowness to you and your redness to me."
This year, thanks to our good friend T, we were invited to his family's Charshanbeh Sorui celebration at his aunt's house outside Tehran. We all gathered at our house early as we dreaded the traffic and left about 5:30 pm; but despite our fears, the road was busy but moving and not that awful. we got there early and had a nice walk before the main event. Many family members of the host had come to the house, and each had brought some food to contribute; and we joined in with the fun and laughter among them and their children.
Jaye shoma khali (we missed you)! We had a wonderful time!
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