Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Jumping Over Fire!

Last night, I participated in an Iranian celebration called Chahar Shanbeh Suri! Chahar Shanbeh Suri is an ancient Iranian festival of fire dating back to 1,700 BC! It takes place a few days before the ancient Noruz festival which celebrates the coming of Spring and is the Iranian New Year. Chahar means Wednesday and suri means feast. It is actually celebrated on the eve of the last Wednesday of the year. Bonfires are lit at sunset, and the idea is to not let the sun set! The tradition goes back to when the Zoroastrian religion was popular in Persia (ancient Iran) and fire was considered to be sacred and pure. Iranians honor this tradition by celebrating Chahar Shanbeh Suri today!

People jump over the bonfires that are set on the street and recite the following:     

Zardy-e-man az tow,
Sorkhy-e-tow az man

The literal translation is 
My sickly yellow paleness is yours,
Your fiery red color is mine
which means you want the fire to take your paleness, problems and sickness and in turn give you redness, warmth and energy.

Like millions of people around the world, my family and I jumped over the fire last night and recited the words that I mentioned, it was a lot of fun! My sister Leila and I look forward to this festival every year. We are old enough to jump over the bonfires by ourselves ( they are not very big!), but when we were younger our parents would hold us in their arms and jump with us.  I am really happy and proud to be able to celebrate a family tradition that goes back thousands of years. Next, is the Iranian New Year which we will celebrate this coming Sunday!

Have you heard of Chahar Shanbeh SuriI?
Do you celebrate  Chahar Shanbeh Suri?
Do you celebrate any family traditions that are as unusual as Chahar Shanbeh Suri?