One of my F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E Norooz related celebrations is “Chaharshanbeh suri”, literally, the “Eve of the Red Wednesday. I personally refer to it as Fire jumping night.
On the last Wednesday eve before the New Year, people get together to share foods that are traditional to that night, and lit bonfires and jump over them chanting “Zardi –e -man az to, Sorkhi-e- to az man”, which means you’re asking the fire to give you its strength and energy for the coming year, and take your sicknesses and weaknesses from the year past. It’s a very cleansing and energizing celebration.
Traditional foods are served, including Ash-e-reshteh (a delightful nutrient dense Persian Noodle soup – which can be made gluten free if using rice noodles or just skipping them) and a mixture of seven colorful dried nuts and fruits, including pistachios, roasted chickpeas, almond, hazelnuts, figs, apricots, and raisins.
As other Persian celebrations, the event is centered towards togetherness and reuniting with family and friends. I always invite old and new friends to the event and for those who have experienced it in the past, it has also become something they look forward to. My hope is to not only share a piece of my culture that I find mesmerizing and is unknown to many, but to also leave a footprint of my heart and soul and create memories that people will remember, for human connection is ultimately what enhances an already culturally rich experience.
Not to mention, beside the fact that jumping over a bonfire is just thrilling and fun, there is a feeling of complete surrender to the inner child within yourself that comes with it. The responsible adult, with all his fears, judgments, and pre-conceived ideas built over the years, flies out of the window, and instead, the fearless child mischievously sneaks in, with all the hope, excitement, innocence, and purity that many of us have long forgotten. And the process works: there is a before and after jumping mindset. Almost as if you have traveled back through time, to a place where your body, mind and soul were once connected.
As Rumi once said, “Try something different. Surrender”.