Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy Chaharshanbe Suri

Chaharshanbe-Suri meaning Wednesday Feast, from the word sour which means feast in Persian is an ancient Iranian festival dating back to at least 1700 BC of the early Zoroastrian era. Also called the Festival of Fire, it is a prelude to Noeruz, which marks the arrival of spring. The words Chahar Shanbeh mean Wednesday and Suri means red. Bonfires are lit to "keep the sun alive" until early morning. The celebration usually starts in the evening, with people making bonfires in the streets and jumping over them singing zardi-ye man az to, sorkhi-ye to az man, meaning my ills for you and your glow for me. The literal translation is, my sickly yellow paleness is yours, your fiery red color is mine. This is a purification rite. Loosely translated, this means you want the fire to take your paleness, sickness, and problems and in return give you redness, warmth, and energy to me. There is no religious significance attached to Chaharshanbeh Soori and it serves as a cultural festival for the Iranian people: Persian, Azeri, Kurds, Jews, Muslims, Armenians, and Zoroastrians. It is said that this celebration, in particular the significant role of fire, is likely to hail from Zoroastrianism but some believe that it could be pre Zorostrian.

Another tradition of this day is to make special ajeel, or mixed Dry nuts and berries. People wear disguises and chadors and go door to door knocking on doors. Receiving of the Ajeel is customary, as is receiving of a bucket of water, Similar to Halloween and trick or treating.

Eversince the mullahs took power in Iran, their enemosity with the National celebrations such as Charshanbe souri, Noeruz, Sade, Mehregan, Sizdabedar and other cultural identities has grown greatly. Last year the mullahs and Ali Khamenie went so far as announcing Fatwa against charshanbe souri. Ali Khamenie the regime’s supreme leader said that Charshanbe Soori has "no basis in sharia (Islamic religious law) and creates a lot of harm and corruption, (which is why) it is appropriate to avoid it." For decades the Iranian people and youths in particular have transformed charshanbe souri into regime’s worst nightmare. This year is no different. No matter how many fire crackers are confiscated, how many people are arrested or how many stores are shut down, the Iranian people will fight the mullahs and victory will be theirs.