Chahar-Shanbeh Soori (which literally translates to ‘Wednesday Feast’) is a much-loved tradition associated with the celebration of Eid-e-Norooz, or Persian New Year.
Persian New Year occurs on the first day of the spring which usually falls on March 21st.
On the eve of the last Wednesday of the year, friends and families congregate, prepareelaborate dinners, and light bonfires. As the tradition goes, people jump over the bonfire while shouting: “Sorkhi-e to az man / Zardi-e man az to!” (“Give me your beautiful redcolor / And take back my sickly pallor!”).
This tradition is grounded in Zoroastrian roots. To them, fire symbolizes happiness and brightness, and they jumped the bonfires as a way of ridding themselves of the hardshipsof the past year and making way for the fresh start of the new year. Gradually, the Iranianpeople turned this last week of the year into a celebration as a tradition of keeping awaythe evil of the spirits.
To this day, in Iran, people would disguise themselves and run through the streets with fire crackers, and go door-to-door banging on pots and pans with spoons to beat out the last
unlucky Wednesday of the year, while asking for treats from each house they go to. (An act similar to Halloween’s trick-or-treat) The usual treat for this night is ajeel (mixed nuts and berries).
Nowadays, in the United States, the most popular Chahar-Shanbeh Soori celebration spot for Iranian-Americans is at beachfront bonfires, where thousands of Persian-Americans gather to keep their traditions alive, and share a good time, dance and enjoy great food.
In order to bring prosperity in the new year, certain ‘lucky foods’ are prepared for Chahar-Shanbeh Soori celebrations.
So, remember to look for the Chahar-Shanbeh Soori celebration around you the last Wednesday before every March 21st!
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