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Birth of fire
Photo essay: Festival at Tehran's Zoroastrian cultural center

Hessam Mirsaeedi
March 14, 2006

"Jashne sadeh bar shomaa khojasteh baad..."

This is how we were greeted by a nice lady, wearing a traditional Persian dress and sprinkling Golab on us.

While visiting Tehran recently, I heard that Zoroastrians are celebrating Sadeh in a garden outside of Tehran. Sadeh is the "Birth of Fire Festival". Legend has it that Hushang, the second Persian King, threw a stone to kill a snake. The stone missed, and hit another stone. A spark sprang; and Fire came to be known to Persians.

My brother and his daughter accompanied me to the Zoroastrian cultural center (Kushk Varzhavand) close to auto manufacturing plants along Karaj road. First there was a series of singing and speeches. Then the Mubedaan lead the the ceremony to the outdoor, where a very large collection of wood has been prepared. It was as big as a single family house. Mubedaan carried the fire with them. They stood around the wood; and when permission was given, put the fire to the wood. Police marching band provided the music as the few thousand attendees watched the huge bonfire.

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