Celebrators of the Persian New Year, “Chahrshanbeh Souri”, jumped over a bonfire on Tuesday, at Berkeley’s Persian Center, in order to shake off the darkness of winter and welcome the lightness of spring, a Persian ritual passed down since ancient Zoroastrian times.
Chahar-Shanbeh Souri means literally “Eve of Wednesday”,because the festival is always held on the last Tuesday of winter, just before the Vernal Equinox. In Iran (and parts of Afghanistan and India), people to make bonfires in front of their homes and jump over them as the sun sets. The Persian Center sponsored this event for Iranian-Americans and all who are interested in their culture. It is one of a few secular Persian organizations in the United States.