(Persia Digest) - Annually in the middle of July a ceremony is held in Salakh rural district of Qeshm Island, called Nowruz-e Sayyad (Fisherman’s Nowruz). The people of Salakh celebrate from sunrise to sunset on this day, and traditional ceremonies and rituals such as “Razif” and “dance of Shushis” are part of the celebrations.

This celebration does not have a specific day on the solar calendar. The fishermen of Qeshm Island determine this day according to the fishing calendar, as well as sea changes, and it is generally held in the middle of July. Qeshm's fishermen's calendar does not coincide with Iran's solar calendar, and the beginning of its seasons is different from the country’s calendar.

The first season of the year is called Juva and begins in the first days of April. This season continues for a hundred days. Then in the middle of July, the heat season begins with the celebration of "Fisherman’s Nowruz". This season is only 65 days. The next two seasons of the year are 100 days each. Therefore, Qeshm's fishing calendar has three 100-day seasons and one 65-day season.

In the "Fisherman’s Nowruz", as in the Nowruz celebrations, the people of Qeshm Island wear new clothes. The island's women bake a pastry called "Ranginak", which is a mixture of halvah and dates. In Fisherman’s Nowruz, all inhabitants swim in the sea. They believe that swimming on such a day wards off sickness. The young people take their parents and the elderlies near the water, and spill water over their heads and bodies.

Competitions are held on this day along with celebrations and dancing. Among them is boat racing, diving, tug of war and swimming. On this day, the fishermen stop working. Fish are not caught during Fisherman’s Nowruz, and the islanders refuse to eat fish and other sea animals. They believe that this will increase the number of fish. Hence, "Fisherman’s Nowruz" is called the celebration of the freedom of fish.

Performing local music and Razif rituals are also part of the celebrations on this day. The celebration of "Fisherman’s Nowruz" stems from the life of Qeshm's fishermen. With the start of the hot season and the celebration, “longtail tuna” and “shark” fishing ends, and fishing using “fish traps” begins. The fishermen make a living with fish traps in these 65 days. After the end of this season, fishing using hooks begins, and fishermen mostly fish for migratory fish.

The fishermen of Qeshm Island believe that all the springs join the sea on this day and therefore they consider swimming in this day beneficial for their health and their families’. Another ceremony on this day is painting the wooden doors of houses. To paint the doors and tree trunks, they use the island's red roses.

In addition to the fishermen, Qeshm livestock farmers also attend the "Fisherman’s Nowruz" ceremony. It is customary for farmers to say the prayer of “Loben" to keep their livestock safe from harm.

The prayer of “Loben" is said for blessing the food and keeping themselves as well as their livestock safe from harm. However, the prayer of Loben is not a prayer that anyone can say. It is about the impact of this prayer. According to Qeshm's fishermen and farmers, the prayer of Loben is effective only six hours after the start of the spring equinox, and then loses its effect.

In each village, only three people have the right to say the prayer of "Loben", and if a fourth person says this prayer, it will not have any effect. Teaching this prayer to a younger person means that the former person should leave the praying group, so that the three holders of the right to say the prayer of "Loben" stay intact.

Fisherman’s Nowruz celebration is usually held in Salakh Village. Hence, the villagers from nearby villages come to Salakh to attend the ceremony. More than 5,000 people attended the Fisherman’s Nowruz celebrations this year.

The ceremony starts from early hours of the morning and continues until sunset. Sports competitions are usually done in the afternoon after the weather is slightly cooler.

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Photos: Asghar Besharati / Mehr, Hossein Azad Manjiri / IRNA, Saeed Daneshvar / Mizan

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