Chaharshanbeh Suri and The Sabzeh tradition

Here are a couple of watercolors I did several years ago inspired by the Iranian tradition of Chaharshanbeh Suri ("jumping the fire" ceremony) and the story of growing the "sabzeh", or springtime grass, which is a symbol of renewal.

What I imagined Persians looked like in their traditional garb jumping the fire centuries ago
Here, the figure is split into two colors. The black side is the side symbolizing the person of the old year, with all their illnesses and darkness. As the figure jumps the fire, they are transformed by the fire's healing energy, and become revitalized, thus that side being in red. When you jump you recite the mantra "Zardieh-man-behtoh...Sorkhieh-toh-behman", my pallor and sickness to you, Fire, your strength and health to me.
The "sabzeh" story: First, the seeds are planted. As they grow, the spirits of the year past and any negative energy are released. Then the seeds sprout into grass. The grass is tied in "wish knots". Wishes (of prosperity, health, etc.) are made with every knot. Tying the grass ensures the manifesting of your wishes. The grass is then placed in a river as a way of releasing or "dispersing" your intentions into the Universe.     

Zoroastrian priests performing the fire ritual


  1. Just found your blog and I'm ... enchanted! This is beautiful! Look forward to new posts.


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