Chaharshanbe Suri – An Ancient Iranian Fire Festival to celebrate the last wednesday eve of the year

Chaharshanbe Suri is a fire jumping festival celebrated by Iranic people (Persians, Azerbaijani people, Armenians, Kurdish people, Assyrians, Bahá’í, Jews, Christian and Zoroastrians). The event takes place on the eve of the last Wednesday before Nowruz.

“Red Wednesday”, the words Chahar Shanbeh mean Wednesday and Suri means red, is an ancient Iranian festival dating back to at least 1700 BCE of the early Zoroastrian era. Also called the Festival of Fire, it is a prelude to Nowruz, which marks the arrival of spring. Bonfires are lit to “keep the sun alive” until early morning.

The celebration usually starts in the evening, with people making bonfires in the streets and jumping over them singing “zardi-ye man az toh, sorkhi-ye toh az man”. The literal translation is, my yellow is yours, your red is mine. This is a purification rite; you want the fire to take your pallor, sickness, and problems and in turn give you redness, warmth, and energy. There is Zoroastrian religious significance attached to Chaharshanbeh Suri and it serves as a cultural festival for Iranian and Iranic peoples.

Another tradition of this day is to make special Chaharshanbe Suri Ajil, or mixed nuts and berries. People wear disguises and go door to door knocking on doors as similar to trick-or-treat. Receiving of the Ajeel is customary, as is receiving of a bucket of water.

Sources: Wikipedia | Chaharshanbe Suri, ISNA 1, ISNA 2, ISNA 3, IRNA 1, IRNA 2

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