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Saturday, November 18, 2017 10:23

Sweden embraces Chaharshanbeh Souri in a big way

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Sweden’s National Theatre in collaboration with a number of Iranian associations in Sweden is planning the sixth annual Chaharshanbeh Souri celebration in the heart of Stockholm.

Chaharshanbeh Souri events are also being prepared in other Swedish cities including Gothenburg, Malmö and Sundsvall. The celebrations in Stockholm will be held on Tuesday March 17 in Kungsträdgården in two segments. First, the traditional bonfires will be lit and remain burning all night for those who want to skip over them. In the second segment, a number of bands and other artists will perform on a large stage set up in the park.

In Gothenburg, Chaharshanbeh Souri has been celebrated for 24 years, and each year 15,000 to 20,000 people take part. Last week it was announced that in 2021, with the city turning 400 years  old, Gothenburg will focus on three of its major celebrations, with one of them being the Chaharshanbeh Souri events.

Iranians celebrate Chaharshanbeh Souri on the last Wednesday evening of the year as part of celebrations marking the arrival of the new year on the first day of Spring. The celebrations revolve around bonfires, which people jump over while singing a refrain that calls for all problems and sicknesses to be burned by the fire and for the redness of the fire, symbolizing health and happiness, to be transferred to them.

The Islamic Republic government has made several efforts to ban Chaharshanbeh Souri in Iran, as the event dates back to pre-Islamic Iran, and the government is suspicious of the energy triggered when young people gather for celebrations.