Chaharshanbeh Suri – Festival of Fire

Mar 16, 20100 comments

(Attempted) Distractions via Hollywood Blockbusters AP has written a report (not much new, but good summary) of the fire festivities. Interestingly enough, according to the report, “state television channels were transmitting Hollywood blockbusters” including, according to the AP source, Indiana Jones and Disney’s animated “Up” in an attempt to lure (and keep) people indoors and away from fire jumping. Checkpoints RaheSabz reports (in Farsi) that despite the presence of security officials, Iranians in various cities, including Isfahan, Mashad, and Shiraz, began the fire festival in the early afternoon, complete with fireworks as is the tradition. RaheSabz also reports that there are several checkpoints set-up to control entry and exit into certain cities.

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We’ve received a few reports of an immense amount of activity starting up in Iran as people gather to celebrate the fire festival prefacing the upcoming Norooz celebrations. Chahārshanbe-Sūri (چهارشنبه ‌سوری) is an ancient Persian festival, which pre-dates Islam and is estimated to be about 3000 years old. Because there is no religious significance to the holiday, the celebration sees a wide arrange of people, from Persian Jews to Turks, Armanians, Kurds, and more. The occasion is marked by lighting bonfires in the evening and jumping over them in a purification ritual, while singing zardi-ye man az to, sorkhi-ye to az man (my sickly yellow paleness is yours, your fiery red color is mine). Several news sources have reported that the Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa (religious decree) banning the fire festival under the guise that the occasion “has no basis in Sharia and is a requisite for much harm and corruption.” Needless to say, the Iranian people will celebrate the ancient ritual, fatwa or not. BBC, AP and others report that despite the fatwa, security forces have mobilized en masse for the fire festival, fearing that this event will be yet another opportunity for the activists of Iran to come out in full force. U4I will continue to monitor the festivities in Iran and update and summarize as information (and pictures, footage etc.) becomes available. Feel free to use this as a forum to comment and discuss. Farsi readers may also find this site a good resource for the day: The Guardian is also doing a live-blog, found here: (Please note, if you have not posted before, a moderator will need to approve your first comment. After being approved once, your comments should post immediately. If you’re having trouble posting, feel free to shoot an e-mail to