Biggest Zoroastrian Sadeh Festival in Kerman Iran
Photos by Laleh Khajouyi
KERMAN, Jan. 31 – The Zoroastrians marked Sadeh, an ancient feast celebrating the creation of fire, in Kerman last Friday.Sadeh has been observed since the days when Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion in the powerful Persian empire.
Every year, on January 30th, thousands of Zoroastrians or even the Muslims from all over Iran as well as other countries gather in Kerman, the city with the greatest Zoroastrian population, to celebrate the religious feast of Jashn-e Sadeh by burning firewood in an open space to signify the coming of spring and to defeat the forces of darkness, frost and cold.
Sadeh celebrates 50 days before Nowrouz, the Persian New Year. Sadeh (meaning ‘hundred’ in Persian) is a mid-winter festival that refers to one hundred days and nights past the end of summer.
Mohammad Ali Golabzadeh, researcher and expert on Kerman, told Mehr News that the ceremony is still celebrated like the ancient times in Kerman, Yazd, and some other Iranian cities.
“Although Sadeh is attributed to Zoroastrians, the ceremony itself has its roots in Kerman’s rituals and even the Muslims participate in it,” he said, adding that for the majority of Iranians Sadeh had no religious significance and everyone gathered to have a good time and celebrate the precious things God has granted humanity.
Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster, after whom the religion is named. The term Zoroastrianism is in general usage, essentially synonymous with Mazdaism, I.e. the worship ofAhura Mazda, exalted by Zoroaster as the supreme divine authority.
In Zoroastrianism, water and fire are agents of ritual purity, and the associated purification ceremonies are considered the basis of ritual life. In Zoroastrian cosmogony, water and fire are respectively the second and last primordial elements to have been created, and scripture considers fire to have its origin in the waters. Both water and fire are considered life-sustaining, and both water and fire are represented within the precinct of a fire temple. Zoroastrians usually pray in the presence of some form of fire (which can be considered evident in any source of light), and the culminating rite of the principal act of worship constitutes a “strengthening of the waters”. Fire is considered a medium through which spiritual insight and wisdom is gained, and water is considered the source of that wisdom.
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