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".
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. PersianCenter.org