List of festivals in Iran
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The following is a list of festivals in Iran.
- NowRuz:now means new and the word ruz means day, so nowruz means starting a new day and it is the Celebration of the start of spring ("Rejuvenation"). It starts on the first day of spring (also the first day of the Iranian Calendar year), 21 March, in that 12 days as a sign of the past 12 months, all Iranian families gather around and visit each other. It is also the best time to re-experience the feeling of mehr (pure love). In nowruz all families talk about their best experiences of the last year and the things they are looking forward in the next year and they all become bonded again in peace. There are many other things Iranians do for nowruz including khane tekani (cleaning the house) and haji firooz, where a person who makes his face black and wears a red dress, walks around the streets and entertains people by singing a special song:
- Sofreye Haft Sin: sofre (tablecloth), haft (seven), sin (the letter S [س]). Al-Bīrūnī said: haftsin came from jamshid because he destroyed the evil that made pars lands weak so in first day of Iranian calendar people called it nowruz (starting of a new day) and they put 7 different beans on their table as a sign of thanking nature for giving humans all they need. Since then every year Iranians put haftsin on their tables, but nowadays they put 7 things that start with letter [س]. Some people also believe that sasanian had a very beautiful plate that was given to them from China and they called it chini plate, and after some years the word chini changed into sini (a beautiful plate) so people would put 7 things in a sini.
- Sizdah Bedar: Persian Festival of "Joy and Solidarity". The 13th and last day of Nowruz celebration. Because of the end of twelve days (a sample of twelve month) they celebrate the 13th day as a new beginning of the next twelve month and it has no relations with the number 13 (as an unlucky number). It is celebrated outdoors along with the beauty of nature. Al-Bīrūnī also called this day: tir ruz: blissed day.
- Mehregan: Festival of Mehr (or Mihr). A day of thanksgiving. It is a day which everyone show the mehr or the love they have for each other and it is one of the most important days in the year.
- Jashne Sade: A mid-winter feast to honor fire and to "defeat the forces of darkness, frost and cold" in which people gather around and build a fire so that they can receive good things from the fire and give the fire their incompleteness.
- Shabe Chelle: The turning point. End of the longest night (darkness) of the year, and beginning of growing of the days (Lights). A celebration of Good over Evil. Also known as Shab-e Yaldā they have special nuts for that night.
- Sepandarmazgan: Day of Love, Friendship and Earth in ancient Persian culture.
- Chaharshanbe Suri: Festival of Fire, last Wednesday night in the Iranian Calendar year. It marks the importance of the light over the darkness, arrival of spring and revival of nature.
- Yaldā Night: longest night of the Iranian calendars
The basis of nearly all of Iranian national festivals are from its Pre-Islamic Zoroastrian era. However, there are some festivals that are celebrated exclusively by Zoroastrians and some with less extent in other communities too.
- khordadgan: celebration of the 6th day of Iranian calendar. Khoordad is one of the ezadans name which means completeness. In this day people used to go near the river or a sea to thank God for everything and they gave each other flowers as a sign of happiness.
- Bahmanagān: Also maintained by Iranian Muslims until the Mongol invasion. The festival was celebrated on the second day of the month of Bahman. Bahmanjana is a later modified form of Bahmanagān.
- Sepandarmazgan or Esfandgan- the day of love
- Farvardingân: Festival of the Farohars ('guardian angels').
- Jaşne Sade: Festival of Fire. Lit. the 100th day (before Nowruz).
- Jaşne Mehregân: Festival of Mihr (or Mehr). A day of thanksgiving dedicated to the highest Angel, Mithra (c.f. Metatron).
- Jaşne Tiregân: Festival of Tir. A day dedicated to Tishtrya, Angel of the star Sirius and rain. Also celebrated in some Muslims regions up this day including Mazandaran.
- Nowruz: New Year's Day. March (first day of Spring).
- Xordâd Sâl (Khordad Sal): Birthday of the Prophet Zarathushtra.
- Zartosht No-Diso: Anniversary commemorating the death of the Prophet Zarathushtra.
- Amordadegan festival: without Death
- Ramadan (Ramazan in Iran): Iranian have special recipes as Zoolbia-Bamieh, Shole Zard, Ferni, Halva and Ash Reshteh in Ramezan.
- Eid ul-Fitr or Eid e Fetr: "The Festival of Fast-Breaking" which comes at the end of Ramadan. People give gifts and money to poor people, patients and the handicapped.
- Ashurah and Tasoa: Shi'a Muslims observe the day in mourning for Hussein and in remembrance of his martyrdom. In Iran, Iranians perform Ta'zieh, the old Iranian dramatic parade (post Islamic era). There exists also a rather special recipe for some special drinks in this festival. Many people cook something and offer it to their neighbors as gifts.
- Nimeh Şabân: celebration for the twelfth and final Shi'a Imam. The festival consists of some fireworks and decorating the cities with lights, bulbs and trees.
- Ghadr nights: the "Night of Qadr" towards the end of Ramadan, which is when the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to Muhammad. Iranian stay awake the nights and light candles.
- Ghorban ceremony: "The Festival of Sacrifice". In Iran, Iranian sacrifice sheep and offer the meat to neighbors and also poor people for free. There is also a barbecue in almost every house.
- Ghadir ceremony
Majority of Iranian Christians are Armenian-Iranians also known as Parska-Hye who follow the Armenian Apostolic Church, an Oriental Orthodox branch of Christianity. This minority has their very own special festivals and traditions.
There is also a significant minority of Assyrian people who follow the Oriental Orthodox Christian Assyrian Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church, it should be noted that these two church groups also have a minority of Persian followers. The followers of this church have a blend of Persian and Assyrian culture.
Iran has an overwhelmingly Muslim population but the Christian Community has a visible presence. During Christmas times, Christmas Trees can be seen from Windows in Tehran and north-western provinces. Although Christmas has an official recognition in Iran, it is not a national holiday.
- Purim Festival
- Illanout (tree festival) Celebrated in February, it is identical to Shab-e Cheleh and is a lot more elaborate, reminiscence of the pre-Islamic celebrations
- Shabe Sal, lit. Night of the Year: The night of the end of Passover, when chametz can once again be eaten. It is usually celebrated with many types of breads and dairy items. This festival is unique to Persian Jews, and is not celebrated in this way by most other Jews.