Chahar Shanbeh Soori
The Norooz holiday season includes several symbolic and meaningful celebrations and
rituals beginning with the last Wednesday of the year, called the Chahar Shanbeh Soori
(translation yields "Wednesday Fire").On Tuesday evening (the night before the
last Wednesday) every family celebrates the Chahar Shanbeh Soori.
At the center of this traditional
celebration is giving thanks for the fortune of having made it through another healthy
year and to exchange any remaining paleness and evil with the life and warmth of the fire.
Chahar Shanbeh Soori is deeply rooted in Iranians' Zoroastrian past (Persian people's
dominant religion prior to Islam). The part of this night especially popular with the
youngsters is the bonfire. Every family gathers several piles of wood or brush to be lit
shortly after the sunset.
All family members line up and take turns jumping safely along (and over) the burning
piles, singing to the fire:
"Sorkheeyeh toe az man; zardeeyeh
man az toe."
This may be roughly translated into:
"Your redness (health) is mine; my
paleness (pain) is yours."
Although a recent addition and generally
against the law in the urban areas, the sights and sounds of fireworks are very common to
Another routine of the Chahar Shanbeh Soori
festival is the Iranian version of Trick or Treating associated with the Western Halloween
night. Flocks of often young trick , hidden under a traditional Chador (veil) go from door
to door banging a spoon against a metal bowl asking for treats or money.
Another old and almost obsolete Chahar
Shanbeh Soori ritual is (fortune hearing!) This ritual was carried out usually by
young women wanting to know their chances of finding the "Mr. Right" in the
coming year. Falgoosh is the act of standing in a dark corner or behind a wall and
listening to the conversations of the passersby and trying to interpret their statements
or the topic of their dialogue as an answer to one's question(s)! This is analogous to
calling a psychic reader to find out your fortune!
In the past several decades Falgoosh has
gradually become an almost unacceptable and "politically incorrect" ritual and
is seldom practiced in the major urban areas.
This is another ritual in which
someone makes a wish and stands at the corner of an intersection , or on a terrace or
behind a wall. That person will know his fortune when he overhears conversation of a