While many Americans have never heard of "jump over the bonfire", the tradition is well known in other countries and is worth a try if you happen to be in Berkeley on March 15. The annual Persian New Year Festival is open to the public and invites everyone to participate in a traditional jump, music, dance, vendors, food and a community celebration.
The jump, which is designed to shake off the darkness of winter and welcome the lightness of spring, is always held on the last Tuesday of winter just before the Vernal Equinox or first moment of spring. As people jump over a small flame they shout out, "Shorkhi-e to az man o zardi-e man az to!" It means, "Give me your beautiful red color and take back my sickly pallor!" Read more about the time and location of this free celebration.