(Persia Digest) - The written history of the starting days of the ancient Iranian civilization, dating back to at least 7000 years ago, reveals the pleasant presence of the Chaharshanbeh Soori ceremony in the public culture of a land which covered much of the ancient world.

IRNA writes that a prosperous Iran throughout its glorious history has been celebrating a number of very special dates on its calendar, a very important one being the ceremony observed on the night of the last Tuesday of the year, called Chaharshanbeh Soori. The glamorous and highly popular festival starts late at night on Tuesday and continues into the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Literally, Chaharshanbeh Soori falls on the last Wednesday of the Iranian calendar year, the most accurate chronological solar calendar, and enjoys a very long presence in the Iranian civilization.

Iranian festivals have included such feasts of fire like Chaharshanbeh Soori which has served as a national event to celebrate the dominance of light over darkness. This notion gets manifested in the act of jumping over small bonfires as a symbol of burning the dull dark winter nights to welcome bright spring days.

'Fire” as a symbol of light has always been respected by and sacred to the Aryan tribes. So when people jump over the fire at Chaharshanbeh Soori, they say farewell to doldrums and freezes and say hello to light on earth because Iranians worldwide celebrate the feast to welcome spring the first day of which is the start of new Iranian year called Norouz.

Still, there is no definite reason as why Iranians both inside the country and all over the world have chosen the last Wednesday of the year to celebrate this , but some believe that the number “4”, which shows the number of the seasons of a year, is the reason behind the event. Chahar in Persian means four.

From among numerous traditions cherished during Chaharshanbeh Soori, many believe the oldest and maybe the most beautiful one is the burning of a fire and gathering around it, taking delight in jumping over it while singing the old song “sorkhi-ye to az man, zardi-ye man az to”, meaning “Fire, leave your ruddiness to me, take my paleness instead.”

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When fire is burnt, poverty, misfortune, wickedness and immorality will fade away, and this is what the Iranians believed in the past.

About the meaning of Soori, many remarks have been made; meanwhile, the most common meaning of Soori is “Sorkh” (Red).

Since the ancient days when Iranians found how worthy the fire is, they have recognized light as a symbol of purity and wanted to keep this idea alive.

Some believe that when they light a fire, they help the sun to save the earth from freezing in order to grow its blessings.

Although the traditions of Chaharshanbeh Soori may be cherished in different Iranian cities with slight differences, the main message of this feast of fire is the family get-together or family reunion.

Along with jumping-over fire which is the common tradition of Chaharshanbeh Soori, some in different Iranian cities eat dried fruits and nuts and some eat 'ash whcih is a special Iranian herbs and legume potage.

It is worthy to say that Chaharshanbeh Soori, the year-end celebration before Norouz, is marked annually not only by Iranians but also by people in other countries to celebrate Norouz-related events rooted in Iran.

Despite the great happiness people feel by holding the festival, some use dangerous fireworks and explosive materials during Chaharshanbeh Soori.

Although Chaharshanbeh Soori is the festival of fire , it does not mean that the event should be accompanied by explosions to scare others.

Chaharshanbeh Soori is solely aimed at holding a celebration to feel happiness and pleasure.

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