Chaharshanbe Suri

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Chaharshanbe Suri
Chaharshanbe Suri
Charshanbe Suri in Tehran, March 2018.
Also calledCharshanbe Soori
Observed by Iran
 Iraqi Kurdistan
 Turkey (by Azeris, Kurds and Persians)
TypeNational, ethnic, cultural
DateThe last Tuesday eve before the vernal equinox
Related toNowruz, Sizdebedar

Chaharshanbe Suri is an Iranian festival celebrated on the eve of the last Wednesday before Nowruz. It is also the first festivity of the Nowruz Celebrations festivals (the Iranian New Year).

Meaning[change | change source]

Chaharshanbe in Persian means Wednesday and Suri means red or fire or sun. The sun was one of the early Gods of the people in old times, praise of the sun have deep root in the old festivals and Suri festival also has relation with the praise of sun and the dead. Sur means red also means sun solar deity and Surya with the same root of the Sul. As Herodotus explained Ertaeyan(Iranian) were worshiping the sun. the importance of fire can be felt while we look at the stone inscriptions of Achaemenid kings also the very first mantra of Rig Veda is in the praise of Fire. Chaharshanbe Suri and Holi festival had the same roots in ancient Arian religions. [1]

Holika bonfire in Udaipur, Rajasthan, 2010.

Observances[change | change source]

jumping over a fire at Chaharshanbe Suri.1975

Jumping over the fire[change | change source]

Before the start of the festival, people gather brushwood in an open space. At sunset, after making one or more bonfires, they jump over the flames, singing sorkhi-ye to az man, zardi-ye man az to, literally meaning "[let] your redness [be] mine, my paleness yours", or a local equivalent of it. This is considered a purification practice.[2]

Fortune telling (fal)[change | change source]

Another popular practice on Čahāršanba-sūrī is fortune telling from a jug (fāl-e kūza, fāl-e bolūnī), usually one with a wide mouth (bolūnī).

Burning rue (Esfand)[change | change source]

Burning rue seeds (esfand) or frankincense (kondor) at parties on the eve of Čahāršanba-sūrī is a widespread practice in most regions of Persia. It is considered a necessary precaution against the evil eye and malevolent spirits, devils, and genies (cf. above on fumigation to avoid the evil eye). While rue and a small amount of salt are thrown on the fire the people recite rhymes, which, though varying with the local dialects, usually go something like this: “Rue shrubs and rue seeds (esfandūne, i.e., esfand-dāna), rue shrubs with thirty-three seeds (dūne), rue shrubs know themselves; let them blast (be-tarkūne, i.e., be-tarakānad) the jealous eye” (or “the evil eye”).

Ancient origin[change | change source]

The festival has its origin in ancient Iranian rituals. The ancient Iranians celebrated the festival of Hamaspathmaedaya (Hamaspaθmaēdaya), the last five days of the year in honor of the spirits of the dead. This is today referred to as Farvardinegan. They believed that the spirits of the dead would come for reunion. The seven holy immortals (Aməša Spənta) were honored, and were bidden a formal ritual farewell at the dawn of the New Year. The festival also coincided with festivals celebrating the creation of fire and humans. By the time of the Sasanian Empire, the festival was divided into two distinct pentads. They are known as the lesser and the greater panje. The belief had gradually developed that the "lesser panje" belonged to the souls of children and those who died without sin, while the "greater panje" was for all souls.

Gallery[change | change source]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Dr.Ajam (2015-03-16). "Newrouz and Chaharshanbe Suri". Parssea (in Persian). Archived from the original on 2020-06-27. Retrieved 2022-03-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  2. Kasheff, Manouchehr; Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, ʿAlī-Akbar (December 15, 1990). "ČAHĀRŠANBA-SŪRĪ". In Yarshater, Ehsan (ed.). Encyclopædia Iranica. 6. Vol. IV. New York City: Bibliotheca Persica Press. pp. 630–634. Retrieved March 15, 2016.

Other websites[change | change source]