Chaharshanbe Suri: The Colorful Prelude to Persian New Year

ToIranTour - Chaharshanbe Suri

Chaharshanbe Suri, the lively “Wednesday Feast,” is one of the most exciting festivals in Iran. It’s a mix of singing, fireworks, romance, and jumping over fires! This celebration happens on the last Wednesday of the Persian calendar year, right before Nowruz, the Persian New Year. Chaharshanbe Suri has been around for ages, evolving, yet it still holds its importance as a major Iranian festival that people celebrate today. If you are planning to visit Iran during Nowruz, it’s good to know all about this Persian festival.

Chaharshanbe Suri Festival brings together old customs and modern joy, creating a festive atmosphere that Iranians love. Families and communities come together to enjoy the festivities, creating a colorful blend of tradition and today’s fun. Laughter, firecrackers, and shared moments make this celebration special. Jumping over the flames is like a symbol, connecting different generations and marking the jump into a new beginning. Chaharshanbe Suri isn’t just a festival; it’s a lively expression of Iranian culture, a celebration that keeps the nation’s spirit alive and kicking.

Chaharshanbe Suri History

ToIranTour - Chaharshanbe Suri History
Photo by Noah Carter on Unsplash

Contrary to what many think, Charshanbe Soori isn’t only for Zoroastrians. The way people celebrate it has changed a lot since the Arab invasion. Zoroastrians, who were Iran’s first religious leaders, think fire, along with water, soil, and air, is super important. They used to be careful about fire, never lighting one in the street to jump over.

The Shahnameh, also known as the Epic of the Kings, tells us about Chaharshanbe Suri’s history. In this story, Queen Sudabeh falls for King Keikavoos’s son, Siavash. Even when Sudabeh tries to trick him, Siavash says no. When the king finds out, Siavash offers to walk through fire to prove he’s innocent, thinking fire wouldn’t hurt someone who’s done nothing wrong. After he’s perfectly fine crossing the fire on the last Tuesday of the Iranian year, a big celebration, called “Chahrshanbe Suri” in Persian, happens the next day, the last Wednesday of the year, as the king said.

Ever since, Iranians celebrate this special day by moving around, jumping over big fires, singing, dancing, and enjoying stories from the Shahnameh on the last Tuesday of the year. The tradition has changed a bit over time, but it still holds onto its roots in a story of bravery and honesty from Iran’s history.

Chaharshanbe Suri Meaning

The name ‘Chaharshanbe Suri’ means ‘Wednesday Feast‘ in Persian. It comes from ‘Chaharshanbe,’ which is Wednesday, and ‘Suri,’ meaning red, fire, or celebration.

People in Iran celebrate this day with happiness and fun. It’s special because of the lively things they do on the last Wednesday of the Persian calendar year. They light fires, sing, and jump over them as part of the happy traditions. The name itself nicely shows what this lively celebration is about – a mix of the day of the week and the fiery, festive feeling of Chaharshanbe Suri.

What to Do in Chaharshanbe Suri

Chaharshanbe Suri Festival isn’t just a day; it’s like a big, colorful quilt made of traditions, showing that everyone hopes for happiness and good things in the year ahead.

Jumping Over Fire

As the sun sets on Chaharshanbe Soori, people in Iranian towns light fires to jump over. It’s a big deal! Families gather twigs, making streets and rooftops glow with flames. They jump over the fire, saying, “Your red is mine, my yellow is yours,” asking the fire for warmth and good vibes. After the fiery leap, everyone hangs out, eats, sings, and dances. In Kurdish towns, they add a modern twist with colorful fireworks, turning the night sky into a dazzling show.

Qaashoq-Zani (Spoon-Banging)

Qaashoq-Zani is like an Iranian version of trick-or-treating during Chaharshanbe Suri. Kids with spoons and bowls visit neighbors, making a sound that brings out treats. It’s a fun exchange – if you “steal” a spoonful, you get more goodies. This tradition comes from the belief that at the end of the year, spirits visit, wanting favors. The spoon-hitting is their way of asking. It’s a bit spooky but also sweet, creating a night of treats, stories, and a touch of magic.

Kuze-Shekani (Smashing the Pot)

A long time ago during Chaharshanbe Suri, folks in Iran used to smash pots for good luck. They filled the pots with salt, charcoal, and a cheap coin, and then someone chucked the pot off the roof. It was like saying goodbye to bad stuff and hoping for a fresh start without troubles and sadness.

Shaal-Andazi (Dropping the Shawl)

In some villages like Hamedan and Zanjan, there’s another cool thing during Chaharshanbe Soori called Shaal-Andazi. Young people make long, colorful ropes from scarves and send them into neighbors’ homes through chimneys. With a few loud coughs, they get the landlord’s attention. When the landlord sees the colorful scarf, they tie a gift to it. Each gift means something – bread for good things, pastries for happiness, and pomegranates for baby luck. It’s a sweet way of spreading joy and good wishes on this special night.

Fāl (Fortune-Telling)

In Chaharshanbe Suri, Iranians enjoy peeking into the future through a practice called fortune-telling or “fāl.” This tradition is like a special way of connecting with the spiritual side and getting hints about what the coming year might bring.

During Chaharshanbe Suri, there are different ways to do fortune-telling. Some folks use cards, like tarot cards, arranged in specific patterns. Others share their dreams, and a fortune-teller helps them understand what those dreams might mean for the future. There’s also palmistry, where the lines on your hand can tell a story about what’s ahead.

Even though some people in Iran think fortune-telling is a bit superstitious and not in line with Islamic beliefs, many still love this tradition during Chaharshanbe Suri. For them, it’s not just about knowing the future; it’s a cool way to feel more connected, seek guidance, and learn a little about what’s coming up.

Burning Esfand (Rue)

Burning esfand, or rue in Persian, is a special part of Chaharshanbe Suri in Iran. It’s not just about lighting up dried leaves and twigs; it’s like a deep connection to Persian culture, spirituality, and the belief that natural things can help us.

When people burn rue during Chaharshanbe Soori, it’s not just for show. They believe the sweet-smelling smoke can keep away bad spirits and negative feelings. Rue has been important in Persian culture for a really long time, not just for spiritual stuff but also for helping with health.

In the Chaharshanbe Suri tradition, folks gather dried rue leaves and twigs, put them in a metal or clay container, and set them on fire. As the smoke goes up, people say prayers, thinking it cleans everything and makes room for good things in the new year. This tradition is like a mix of old beliefs and the fun of celebrating Chaharshanbe Suri today.

Chaharshanbe Suri Food

On Chaharshanbe Suri night, families gather by the fire not just for warmth but also to enjoy a special meal called Ajile Chahar Shanbeh Suri. It’s a mix of different nuts and fruits that everyone shares and savors.

In different parts of Iran, there are unique dishes to add to the celebration. Some families make Ash Reshteh, a Persian noodle soup, or other soups from their region. Others go for Ash-e Abu Darda, a special soup made with the wish for healing, especially for someone not feeling well, as a hopeful start to the new year.

Long ago, on Charshanbe Soori night, ancient Iranians cooked up a dish called “Polo Haft Rang,” a colorful pilaf. They made seven different kinds with flavors like dill, cumin, raisins, dates, lentils, and more. These tasty traditions show how Chaharshanbe Suri is about not just warmth but also bringing together flavors and hopes for a great new year.

FAQs about Chaharshanbe Suri

Q1: What is the purpose of Chaharshanbe Suri?

A1: Chaharshanbe Suri is an interesting festival in Iran that happens on the evening before the last Wednesday before Nowruz, representing the victory of light over darkness. In this celebration, people take part in the customary practice of jumping over bonfires, which symbolizes purification and starting anew.

Q2: What do you say in Chaharshanbe Suri?

A2: As the sun sets, after creating one or more bonfires, they leap over the flames, singing a phrase like “your redness for me, my paleness for you,” which means sharing qualities. This act is seen as a way of purifying oneself.

Q3: What to do for Chaharshanbe Suri?

A3: Leading up to Chaharshanbe Suri, preparations start a few days ahead. People collect firewood, get fireworks ready, and make special foods for the event. On the festival night, families and friends gather to light bonfires, usually in their own backyards or public parks.

Q4: What to wear for Chaharshanbe Suri?

A4: Young women wrap themselves in a chador, and while tapping a spoon against a bowl, they go to their neighbors’ doors. The homeowners fill their bowls with ajils (nuts). It’s thought that someone who doesn’t receive anything may have an unlucky year. Occasionally, boys wear a chador and join in for fun.

Q5: What do people do with fire during the Chaharshanbe Suri tradition?

A5: The most important tradition during Chaharshanbe Suri is jumping over a bonfire. This act symbolizes leaping into the New Year and leaving behind the darkness of winter. It is also a ritual for purification and cleansing oneself.

Last Words: Experience the Best of Chaharshanbe Suri with a Customized Tour

Chaharshanbe Suri is a fun Iranian festival with singing, fireworks, and jumping over fires. It happens on the last Wednesday before the Persian New Year. Families come together, laugh, and enjoy the celebration. Jumping over the flames is like a symbol of starting something new. It’s a lively part of Iranian culture, keeping the spirit of the nation alive.

Embarking on a journey to experience the vibrant celebration of Chaharshanbe Suri in Iran is a unique and enriching adventure. To make the most of this cultural extravaganza, consider traveling to Iran with Customized Tours that cater to your preferences and interests. To Iran Tour stands out as a beacon for those seeking extraordinary Iran tours and travel packages. Our team of professionals is dedicated to designing personalized itineraries that align seamlessly with your travel aspirations.

Let us be your companions in creating memories that will last a lifetime, as you delve into the enchanting world of Chaharshanbe Suri and beyond.

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