Chaharshanbeh-Souri - 'The Wednesday Fire Party' is an ancient Iranian festival dating at least back to 1700 BCE of the early Zoroastrian era. The festival of fire is a prelude to the ancient "Nowruz" festival, which marks the arrival of spring and revival of nature. Nowruz, or the New Year's Day in the Iranian calendar, falls on March 20 this year.
Please notice: it's called Wednesday Party, but it takes place on the evening before, i.e. the Tuesday evening!
Last Wednesday of the year know as Chahar Shanbeh Soori (Čahār Šanbé Sūrī): On the eve of last Wednesday of the year, literally the eve of Red Wednesday or the eve of celebration, bonfires are lit in public places with the help of fire and light, it is hoped for enlightenment and happiness throughout the coming year. People leap over the flames, shouting:
Sorkhi-ye to az man; Zardi-ye man az to
Give me your beautiful red colour; And take back my sickly pallor!
With the help of fire and light symbols of good, we hope to see our way through this unlucky night - the end of the year- to the arrival of springs longer days. Traditionally, it is believed that the living were visited by the spirits of their ancestors on the last day of the year. Many people specially children, wrap themselves in shrouds symbolically re-enacting the visits. By the light of the bonfire, they run through the streets banging on pots and pans with spoons called Gashog-Zani to beat out the last unlucky Wednesday of the year, while they knock on doors to ask for treats. Indeed, Halloween is a Celtic variation of this night.
In order to make wishes come true, it is customary to prepare special foods and distribute them on this night.
Noodle Soup (Âsh) a filled Persian delight, and mixture of seven dried nuts and fruits, pistachios, roasted chic peas, almond, hazelnuts, figs, apricots, and raisins.
Official Website: http://www.mediamatic.net/fireparty
Added by Mediamatic on March 7, 2008