Big fireworks, cheery songs, spread of happiness everywhere, the sparkle of joy in the eyes of people celebrating, this is not the Rio Carnival in Brazil or the New Year’s Eve in Sydney, it is Chaharshanbe Suri in Iran! Yes, this is Chaharshanbe Suri, an ancient Iranian festival which is mostly celebrated by Iranian people and by some people from other countries including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and some people in Turkey. The exact history of this festival is unknown but it goes back to ancient times, some say it comes from before Islam, but who knows except for Almighty God. Some researchers believe Chaharshanbe Suri means Wednesday Feast, and some other researchers believe it means Red Wednesday. This ancient festival is celebrated annually on the evening of the last Tuesday of the year and continued until midnight of Wednesday. Jumping over fire, spoon banging, eating challenging nuts, are some of the activities that are done traditionally from past till present on this night; however nowadays these traditions are mixed with some other activities.
The main old tradition of Chaharshanbe Suri is to make a number of fires usually each stack followed by the other one in order to jump over them, and while jumping people say: “Your red is for me, my yellow is for you”. It is believed that this slogan, which means let your (fire’s) red color be for me and let my yellow color be for you (fire), is said by people in order to be kept away from disease and misfortune in the following new year; in other words people burn their pale color and diseases with fire and get the color of joy from the fire. Another old tradition is the spoon banging which youth girls and boys wear disguises and go by the door of their neighbors’ house and bang spoons on the bowls creating a sound that informs their presence and then they’ll receive nuts, sweets, or candies from their neighbors. Probably this tradition is taken from this belief that good spirits from the past at the resurrection of the end of the year come back in the form of a disguised person in between living people and visit their relatives. As a result, living people give them a gift for blessing and their memorial. Another nice old tradition is eating challenging nuts (Chaharshanbe Suri nuts) with family, relatives or friends. There are some other old traditions too that varies from city to city and that it may also got paled as a result of the pass of time.
Nowadays, all those traditions are mixed up with fireworks, music and feast, which gives a new color to this celebration. However these fireworks sometimes lead to serious injuries of people or even their deaths, as a result of some extremist people. But without extremist people, this beautiful festival can be a blast! At the end, this festival makes us ready for a prosperous year ahead, as it only has a few steps to the new solar year, Nowruz!!!