Chaharshanbe Suri (Wednesday Fire Feast) is one of the Iranian festivals that is held on the evening of the last Tuesday of the year (Esphand) and Wednesday night, and lighting a fire and jumping over it is its main feature.
What Does It Mean?
This is the first of a series of Nowruz celebrations, to be held outdoor with lighting fires and some other symbolic behaviors.
Some scholars consider the word "Chahar" or “Char” (i.e., four) to referring the fourth universal element meaning “fire”.
On the other hand, “Sur” means celebration since ancient times. However, it may also come from the word Shur (meaning joy and passion). Some also believe that Sur originated from the word “Red” which understandable with its relation with Fire.
This religion called Mithraism is an all-encompassing Iranian religion that was the religion of 80% of Iranians until the Sassanid era. After that, Zoroastrianism and then Islam replaced this ancient religion.
For them, the fire was a symbol of the movement of a particle into the essence of life with complete and precise mystical roots. Therefore, fire symbolizes the multiple stages of mysticism from man as an element of soil to reach the dynamics (movement). So first, Fire is Red, then goes through changes and finally becomes golden yellow which is the color of the god Mitra.
In all cities and villages of Iran, the ceremonies are different but they mostly come into lighting fire outdoor, on the night of the last Wednesday of the year, and all family members must jump over the fire and say “My yellowness is from you, your redness is from me”, they burn the diseases and sorrows and worries of the old year, to start the new year with comfort and happiness.
Trick or Treat
They Clean their houses, or visit elders and listen to their pieces of advice. People even go for a “trick or treat” tradition, which is now largely gone.
Children and mostly young girls, putting fabrics over their heads so as not to be recognized. They would take a spoon and a plate and would go to their neighbors' houses, Tap on the plate with a spoon while singing, demanding money or sweets.