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Archive for March 18th, 2008

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Today is the evening of Chahar Shanbeh Sury. In Iran people gather around bonfires and jump over the flames while reciting a phrase which loosely translated means “give me your red complexion or coloring and take my yellow or sickly coloring.” This is an old ritual which always takes place on the eve of the last Wednesday of the year.

Tonight I created my own version of a bonfire. I came up with my own genius method a few years back when I didn’t have a backyard. A good old candle on the floor of my apartment was given he honor of pretending to be a bonfire. So once again this year I jumped over a candle! J partook in the celebration by jumping over our makeshift fire while reading the phrase from one of my Persian cookbooks which has a description of the whole event. Then he promptly handed me the book and went back to watching his documentary. I am glad that he at least partakes…while he probably thinks to himself “what have I gotten myself into.” 🙂

Wikipedia does a fabulous job of explaining this ritual and because it is late and I am tired I am going to just post the portion that is relevant to today:

The night before the last Wednesday of the year is celebrated by the Iranian people as Chahârshanbe Sûrî Persian: چهارشنبه سوری, (Azerbaijani: Od çərşənbəsi meaning wednesday of fire, Kurdish: Çarşeme surê, چوارشه‌مه‌ سوورێ meaning red wednesday), the Iranian festival of fire. This festival is the celebration of the light (the good) winning over the darkness (the bad); the symbolism behind the rituals are all rooted back to Zoroastrianism.

The tradition includes people going into the streets and alleys to make bonfires, and jump over them while singing the traditional song Zardî-ye man az to, sorkhî-ye to az man; This literally translates to “My yellowness for you, your redness for me,” with the figurative message “My paleness (pain, sickness) for you (the fire), your strength (health) for me.”

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