California Festivals


Persian New Year Festival

Jump Over the Bonfire - Chahr-Shanbeh Souri

March 17, 2020,  6 -10 p.m. Free.

Persian Center
2029 Durant Avenue
Berkeley, CA
All are welcome. Admission is free, |

PERSIAN FESTIVAL – Jump over the bonfire to welcome spring. Persian food, music, dance.

Berkeley, Calif. -- In an exciting tradition that celebrates a culture and new year like no other, the Persian Festival in Berkeley remains true to tradition with the jump over a bonfire for "Chahr-Shanbeh Souri".

This ancient tradition welcomes Nowruz (Persian New Year) by jumping over bonfires, music & dancing, eating delicious Persian treats, and enjoying a host of vendors. This is a family-friendly, non-alcoholic block party held outdoors at the 2000 block of Durant Avenue, in front of the Persian Center Building in Berkeley, California.

Designed to shake off the darkness of winter and welcome the lightness of spring, Chahr-Shanbeh Souri (means 'Eve of Wednesday') is a Persian ritual passed down since ancient Zoroastrian time. The Persian New Year Festival is always held on the last Tuesday of winter just before the Vernal Equinox or first moment of spring.

In Iran (and parts of Afghanistan and India), it is customary for people to create bonfires in front of their homes throughout the neighborhood and jump over them as the sun sets. Berkeley's Persian Center at 2029 Durant Ave. hosts this event for Iranian-Americans and all who have an interest in the culture. As people jump over the flames they shout, "Shorkhi-e to az man o zardi-e man az to!" Translated into English, it means -- Give me your beautiful red color and take back my sickly pallor!

Parents jump with their young ones who look wary of going near the flames. Sweethearts jump in tandem. In Berkeley (home to UC Berkeley) Frat boys try to out leap one another in side-by-side races. By engaging the non-Persian community in the fire-jumping festival, the organization hopes to allow a glimpse into beautiful Persian traditions and the culture of the Iranian-American community in the US.

Inside the Persian Center, a traditional altar holds green grass, live goldfish, food and other items representative of spring called the "haftseen" or seven 's's as each item on the table begins with the letter 's'. Persian music, dance, food & craft vendors, cultural organizations, and kids' activities provide entertainment for all ages. Vendors and other sponsors are welcome. Sponsored by Persian Center and Art in Farsi, this is a free, family-friendly, non-alcoholic event held outdoors on Durant Avenue.

Persian Center is a non-profit, charitable 501(c3) organization whose mission is to create an environment in which to conduct social, cultural, educational, and recreational activities designed to strengthen the sense of identity and integrity of all Iranians and Iranian descendants, and to engage individuals interested in or related to Persian community and culture. It is one of a few secular Persian organizations in the United States.

Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

More Info

Near Berkeley