Chaharshanbeh Suri is made of 2 words; Chaharshanbeh which means Wednesday and Suri which originates from party or banquet. Therefore, generally, it means having a party last Wednesday of the year. Since so many years ago Iranian people had a belief that last Wednesday of every Iranian year is somehow sinister and in order to remove the negative energy they used to light up a fire and jump over it. It even has a romantic part too! As a custom, if you are in love with someone, you’d better jump over the fire while you are holding each other’s hands. If you don’t fall down or you still keep each other’s hands until the end of the jump, it means that your love will last forever!
Generally, people used to believe since years ago that we should not carry our negative energies or dirt to the new year. So Charashanbeh Suri, on the other hand, is like a preliminary ceremony in order to prepare yourself for the start of the new year. So actually by jumping over the fire, you give all your dirt which exists in your soul to the fire!
By the entrance of Islam to Iran, this tradition didn’t get abolished because, on the other hand, Arab people used to consider Wednesday as a bad day. So that’s why it’s remained among all other Iranian celebrations.
There is an interesting custom in this ceremony which is called “Ghashogh Zani”. The process is like when kids take a plate or bowl, using a spoon and trying to tap on it, making sounds. Besides, they are covering their faces by some pieces of clothes in order not to be recognized. This happens when they visit and stand in front of each house. After hearing sounds, people come out from their houses and put some chocolates, sweets, small gifts or even water in their bowls.
But as far as you know the diversity of cities and their own customs in Iran is quite considerable. So in each city, you can almost find a special way of executing this ceremony which is a bit different than another. Here we list some of them and explain to you about how does it work.
People pour water or rose-water on each other. They believe that it can make their life happier!
Almost most people visit their old members of the family like grandparents in such a night and start eating nuts! This kind of nuts should contain various types of nuts, Such as fig, raisin, banana, date, dried berry, hazelnut, almond, walnut, oleaster, chickpea, Berenjak (grilled rice), Baslogh (kind of Iranian soft sweets), peach leaf, apricot leaves, and grilled wheat. You can find related pictures below. It’s so interesting to know that the person who had the biggest wish among others was distributing nut.
In Moghan relatives used to go beside the river on Wednesday and lighten up a fire. Youngsters used to ride horses and at the end of the day, women were filling their dishes with water of the river, bringing it to their houses and pouring this water in some corners of the house as a symbol of spreading happiness and calmness.
After jumping over the fire, youngsters are riding boats on the river and passing through it. They believe that this movement makes bad events away from them.
Local people put some salt, coal and a coin (which doesn’t have a great value) into a jug. It should be mentioned that all these 3 things are like symbols of sadness and misery, so after being put into the jug, the jug is going to be turned around heads of the family members and then dropped down from the roof of the house on the ground to get broken!
People in here make balls by some clothes and then fire them in the evening of the last Wednesday of the year. Just like other cities, they believe that by such a movement, any evil power is annihilated.
In Shiraz, girls all go to the tomb of Saadi and pour water of the pool on each other’s heads. But the reason might seem somehow funny for you! The reason is that girls can find better husbands sooner and married women will receive more love from their husband!
The story sounds really interesting in this region. Firstly, People have fun in nature and wrestling competitions. Then they are collecting some small stones from the ground and then Without looking at their back, throw the pebble back and leave behind. Therefore, all bad deeds going to be all away.
This night, in Khorramabad, the firewood is divided into seven categories and they burn and fire at certain intervals in a row.
In the villages of Mazandaran, on Chaharshanbeh Souri, variety of pastries are cooked, including "Seven Pickles", which is used in seven types of vegetables and seven types of pickles and seven kinds of legumes.
In ancient Tehran, dry bushes were gathered from nearby deserts, and carried by camel to the city and turned around in different neighborhoods. After sunset, gathered pieces of clothing (that had been put out after the cleaning the house), are used to make a fire with, then everyone was jumping and singing:
“Sorkhi-e man az to, Zardie to a man”. Which means "Your redness from me, my jaundice is from you."
Nowadays this festival has been changed a bit. We can say that the custom of lighting up a fire and jumping over it has remained but fireworks are added so enormously as well. You can hear the sound of Crackers a lot! Don’t forget that this ceremony lasts from sunset till midnight. This year Chaharshanbe Suri is going to be on 19th March. So get ready and pack your things to experience this wonderful Persian ceremony.
Sara Bagheri Nezhad