(Persia Digest) - Today, January 30th, is the Sadeh festival in the Iranian calendar. It is one of the greatest and most ancient Persian festivals in honor of Ahura Mazda and safeguarding of fire, the first offspring of the earth and one of four pure elements.

Persians considered the cold months of Day and Bahman a time of the strengthening of the Evil Ahriman, and prayed for the end of evil days.

In ancient times, the scope of the celebrations spread from Anatolia to the present-day Chinese province of Xinjiang, and it was called by a special name in every city.

Sadeh was celebrated on the tenth day of Bahman, which was called "Abanrouz" of Bahman in the ancient calendar. The celebration was a group work. In the festivities, firewood was burned and everyone gathered around a great fire to pray, sing, dance.

Some believe that the well-known Sadeh is the 100th day of winter. From the winter solstice on 23 October to 30 January, when Sadeh is celebrated, is 100 days, and from 30 January to the Iranian New Year Nowruz on the spring equinox, there are 50 days and 50 nights. And due to the fact that from this day on, man has acquired fire, making the nights bright and warm just like daytime, so nights are counted too. Others believe that Sadeh means coming up and rising in the Avestan language, and thus, do not see a correlation between “a hundred” and the Sadeh 100th day.

In Avesta, fire is called earth’s offspring, and is a sign of Ahura; its light is the symbol of eternal blaze. However, Sadeh is not a religious festival, and the ancient Persians saw happiness as the forgiveness of Ahura and sadness as a devilish phenomenon. Sadeh celebrates the significance of light, fire and energy.

In ancient Persia and among Zoroastrians in Iran, this festival begins near sunset by starting a fire. Today, following the same tradition, piles of brushwood and firewood are gathered outside the city, while the priests whisper the Avesta tulip in hand, and fire the wood. This ceremony takes place in Kerman with grandeur every year on 30 January. Tehran and Shiraz are also among other cities where the festival is held.

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