Chaharshanbe suri & Zoraostriasm

Leading up the Persian New Year/Nowrooz (generally 21 March) a festival is held on the eve of the last Wednesday of the year. The festival entails jumping over fires and the kids dressing up in traditional clothing walking from door to door with bowls (clanging with spoons against it) asking for sweets. This festival is part of the Zoroastrian religion that was started in Persia 600BC, thus making it one of the oldest religions in the World. Even though Zoroastrianism is no longer the main religion in Iran, the festival is so ingrained in Persian culture that it is celebrated throughout the country and World by Persians every year. Situated in Yazd, Central Iran, is Atashkadeh, the Zoroastrian Temple, and its' main purpose is to guard the everlasting fire (a representation of God) that is burning inside.

This fire has been burning since the Temple was built nearly 2500 years ago and is kept burning by the priests that reside there. Due to this religion's influence, the Iranian calendar follows the movement of the Sun and NOT the Moon as with the rest of the Middle East and thus the exact time of their New year differs annually according to the turning of the Sun for the Spring Equinox. The symbol of Zoroastrianism is the Farvahar (or Ascending symbol) and is prevalent all over Iran and in Iranian culture. It is the Ascended One holding a ring in his hand (representing a promise to ascend and enlighten the others) and three layers of wings (representing thinking good thoughts, speaking good words and performing good deeds), all part of the Zoroastrian doctrine.