Chaharshanbe Suri: A Fire-jumping Festival

Chaharshanbe Suri: A Fire-jumping Festival

Iranians celebrate Chaharshanbe Suri. It is a fire jumping festival celebrated by Iranians around the world. On the eve of the last Wednesday of the Persian solar year, known as Chaharshanbe Suri or the Persian Festival of Fire, special customs and rituals take place in which everyone particularly children eagerly participate. Where young and old gather around and jump over fires that stay burning all night. These bonfires symbolize kindness, friendship, and light.

Chaharshanbe Suri

The event takes place on the eve of the last Wednesday before Nowruz. Loosely translated as Wednesday Light, from the word “sur” which means celebrations/red in Persian, or more plausibly, consider sur to be a variant of Sorkh (red) and take it to refer either to the fire itself or to the ruddiness (Sorkhi), meaning good health or ripeness, supposedly obtained by jumping over it, is an ancient Persian fire festivity from the Zoroastrian era which marks the euphoria of nature on the eve of spring.
Fire, which has always been a sacred item for ancient Persians and Zoroastrians, is supposed to give people its warmth and energy and take away their sickness, paleness and problems in return by the coming of the New Year.

Chaharshanbe Suri (Red Wednesday in English), in many ways is the equivalent of Halloween or Guy Fawkes night. 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. Loosely translated, this means you want the fire to take your pallor, sickness, and problems and in turn give you redness, warmth, and energy.

Undoubtedly Chaharshanbe Suri is one of the most popular ways to welcome Nowruz. A specially made mixtures of nuts and dried fruit, called “Ajil”, is a commonly nibbled on throughout the evening. This tasty treat, believed to make one kinder and compassionate, is prepared using salted hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, prunes, apricots, and raisins.

Innocent Siavash in Shahnameh

Some people believe that Chaharshanbe Suri associate with the story of Siavash, and this is a mystery. In this day Siavash, safely, passed through the fire with his horse because he was innocent. Ferdowsi tells the story of Siavash’s passing from fire in his popular book (The Epic of Kings).

Siavash, Persian Prince, loses his mother at age seven. The king got married with another wife, Soodabe, a beautiful woman and capricious,who then loves Siavash. She had wanted to have relationship with Siavash, (Siavash was refusing to do so) and she accused him. Siavash told his father that he was innocent and, to prove it, was ready to cross the tunnel and the corridor of fire.

“If I’m a sinner, I will burn in the fire, and if I’m clean, I will cross the fire,” he said.

Siavash, safely, passed through the fire with his horse because he was innocent and proved his chastity. This event had happend on Tuesday, and from Wednesday to Friday the National Day was announced, and throughout the vast country of Iran, under the command of Kikavos, the sponging and joy were established. Since then, reminding of the proudly passing the fire, Persians celebrate the last Wednesday of each year with jumping over the fire.