Persian Culture & History

Charshanbe-Suri

Charshanbe-Suri (Wednesday (Fire) Festival)

by Mason Balouchian

Chaharshanbeh Suri occurs ¬†on the last WednesdayCharshanbehSuri1of every year. It dates back to 1700 BC. The festival starts on Wednesday evening by lighting fire which is kept alive until the following dawn. The etymology of this term includes the word Chaharshanbeh (Wednesday), and Suri which refers to fire. During this festival, people light fire in their yard and chant, take my illness away and give me your purity while jumping over it. This action signifies cleansing. In other words, they want the fire to take all their difficulties and ailments away and replace them with warmth, energy, and strength. This festival is not a religious ceremony and is observed by all Iranians including Zoroastrians, Christians, Muslims, Jewish, Baha’is, and other groups.

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