Tehran: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei on Sunday urged Iranians to shun next week's Persian
fire festival as an un-Islamic event which causes "a lot of
Seven people have already been reported killed in the
runup to the festival, ISNA news agency said, quoting a police
Charshanbe Soori, an ancient pagan festival, is held
on the eve of the last Wednesday of the Persian calendar year.
This year, the ritual falls on the night of March 16.
Khamenei, Iran's all-powerful cleric, said on his
website that Charshanbe Soori has "no basis in sharia (Islamic
religious law) and creates a lot of harm and corruption,
(which is why) it is appropriate to avoid it."
The festival is a prelude to Nowrouz, the Persian New
Year which starts on March 21 and marks the arrival of spring.
In the past few years, local municipalities have
helped Iranians organise the festival but it is unclear
whether they will do so this year in the wake of Khamenei's
Iranians celebrate the fire festival by lighting
bonfires in public places on the night before the last
Wednesday and leaping over the flames shouting "Sorkhiye to az
man, Zardiye man az to (Give me your redness and I will give
you my paleness)."
First Published: Sunday, March 14, 2010, 19:55