Zoroastrians In Iran Celebrate Sadeh

On the eve of 30th January, 2024, groups of Iranian Zoroastrians from various cities including Tehran, Yazd, Shiraz and Kerman came together to celebrate the ancient Sadeh festival. Passed down through generations, this annual mid-winter festivity, which is called Jashn-e-Sadeh by locals, pays homage to light, fire, peace, and friendship. A cultural cornerstone for the Zoroastrian community in Iran, Sadeh is a UNESCO-listed festival which fosters unity and connection with its ancient Zoroastrian heritage.

According to legend, Sadeh marks the landmark discovery of fire. Ancient Iranians believed that the fire lit on this day symbolized the warming of the earth and its preparation for the arrival of spring. During the festivities, ‘Moobeds’ or Zoroastrian priests, recite verses from the Avesta, and along with boys and girls – all clad in white, circle clusters of shrubs carrying torches. The crowd erupts in cheers as the participants ignite a pile of wood and the symbolic fire is lit, symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness. Named after the Farsi word for 100, ‘Sad’, the festival occurs precisely 50 days and 50 nights before Nowruz, the Iranian New Year on 21st March.

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