On 30th January, 2020, a number of Zoroastrians in Iran got together to celebrate Jashn-e-Sadeh, a time-honored religious mid-winter festival, in Taft (central Yazd), as also in other cities across Iran including Tehran, Shiraz and Kerman. In keeping with the essence of the festivity being the mythical discovery of fire, the Irani Zarthostis set fire to a big pile of wood, when the event reaches its climax.
Named after ‘the number one hundred’ (Sad in Farsi), the feast marks 50 days and 50 nights to the Iranian New Year, Noruz (Navroze). Prior to lighting the huge open fire, Zoroastrian Mobeds dressed in white cotton robes, recite verses from the Avesta, as Zoroastrian girls and boys, holding torches, walk around the pile of shrubs and light the fire as crowds cheer loudly.
While the common belief emphasizes that Sadeh is a mid-winter ritual to celebrate the date when the earth begins to warm up, some say it is a festivity honoring fire – to defeat the forces of darkness, frost and cold. Even so, many mythological accounts connect the festival to the origins of human beings. According to Persian mythology, Houshang, the second king of the world, discovered the fire when he tried to hit a dragon with a stone. He reportedly threw a flintstone that struck against another flint stone causing a spark, generating fire.
Zoroastrian rituals like Noruz; Yalda Night (celebrating the longest night of the year); and Chaharshanbeh Souri (in praise of spring) are widespread in Iran and observed by most Iranians.
Courtesy: Tehran Times
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