Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chaharshanbe Suri

Every yea,r, as a prelude to Norouz and new year celebrations, Iranians practice the tradition of Chaharshanbe Suri. Chaharshanbe is the Persian world for Wednesday and this festive tradition takes place the night before the last Wednesday of the ending year.

Traditionally, people would light up bonfires and jump over them, singing special songs. The most famous song calls for health and happiness by asking the fire to get the yellow color off the face of the jumper (resembling paleness and sickness) and trade it with its fiery red (resembling joy, health and happiness). People may also get together (traditionally in the elders' houses) and eat a special mix of nuts and dried fruits among many other things.

Unfortunately in recent years, this tradition has witnessed some changes. Most bonfire songs have given their place to disturbing sounds of crackers and other hand-made or cheap and unsafe explosives. The call for health and happiness has been replaced by the risk of explosions and arson.

Despite the unfortunate casualties brought about by modern times, Chaharshanbe Suri can still be called a festive occasion. It is a tradition that has survived a few thousand years of military and cultural invasions and is now shared by all Iranians regardless of religion, cultural or political beliefs.

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