Chaharshanbe Suri or the Iranian Festival of Fire is one of the ceremonies related to Nowruz and greeting the spring. Fire, water, soil and wind are the four main elements of earth that were praised by ancient Iranians and Chaharshanbe Suri is a ritual dedicated to the fire which gives energy to the earth and never gets polluted.
The ancient and mythical roots of Chaharshanbe Suri
Ancient Iranians used to celebrate the Hamaspathmaedaya festival 5 days before spring arrived, in order to commemorate the soul of the dead. They believed that the soul of the dead would come back to earth for a reunion before the new year, therefore they lit a fire to guide the dead back home. The historians have related Chaharshanbe Suri to this ancient ritual.
Chaharshanbe Suri Today
Today Chaharshanbe Suri is still celebrated as the festival of fire and the start of spring in the cities. Starting in the evening, neighbors and friends gather and make bonfires in alleys or open exterior space with bushes. They make Aush (Iranian soup) and spend the whole evening chatting, laughing and dancing. This celebration also includes:
Jumping over the fire
At night every one jumps over the fire and sing: “Sorkhi-e to az man, Zardi-e man az to”, which literally means “May your (fire’s) warmth and energy be mine, and my paleness and weakness be yours.”
Wearing disguises, children and young people go from one house to another and by knocking the door they ask the host to fill their pot with some sweets and candy.