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Chahar Shanbe Suri

Chahar Shanbe Suri

Chahar Shanbe Suri

One of the most important things to do in Iran is to check out the calendar for annual festivals. Iran holds and celebrates various events and festivals all year round. The festivals in Iran vary greatly by region due to Iran’s multi-ethnic make-up. One of the most important and old festivals is Chahrshanbe Suri.

Chaharshanbe Suri – Ancient Persian Festival of fire

Chaharshanbe Suri always holld on the last Wednesday night before the Persian New Year, which is always the Spring equinox, the Festival of Fire takes place and sees bonfires sprouting up in various public areas, in alleys, in front of homes and mostly parks or gardens. Chahar-Shanbeh means Wednesday and Suri means both ‘Red’ and ‘Celebration’. In this “red celebration”, people go out and make bush fires and keep them burning till the next morning. This is symbolic of burning all that was bad, pain, unhappiness, sickness and worry and looking forward to a new beginning. People jump over the burning cinders and shout, “Oh, Chahrshanbe Suri; Give me your red color (red face color is the symbol of healthiness) and take back yellow color (yellow face color is the symbol of sickly pallor),” which is a purification ritual. Some believe their ancestors’ spirits visit during the last few days of the year. 
 
 

How people celebrate chaharshanbe suri

Chaharshanbe Suri is the symbol of good health, cultivation, light, and purity to the Iranian. People beleive that the ritual guarantees the dissipation of the misfortunes and evils, and of course, the materialization of people’s hopes and desires for the next year. There are several rituals and routines performing in the Chaharshanbe Suri, which make the festival a richer perspective. Some of the most important ones are listed here:

Qaashoq-Zani (Spoon-hitting)

Very much like Halloween and in full disguise (the history of it, is way older than Halloween), usually a veil (chador) covering the entire body, longing youths go to seven different houses and make a noise by hitting a bowl with a spoon to signal the household residing in the house. The household present with some treat betokens a positive omen, and vice versa.

Kuze-Shekani (earthenware jar-shattering)

The household put some coal, as the sign of ill omen, and some salt, standing for evil eye, plus a cheap coin, signifying poverty, inside an earthenware jar. They turn the earthenware jar around their heads one by one. Then, one of them throws the jar over the roof onto the alley. Thus, ill omen, evil eye and poverty drive out of the house.

Shaal-Andazi (shawl-dropping)

In some parts of the country, young engaged boys, drop a shawl or wraparound down from the roof of their fiancé’s house and she would present him with some confection or other present. Along with these rites, there are also others such as making soup for the sick, discarding the outworn furniture, etc.