AP — Iranians are celebrating the Festival of Fire, a nearly 4,000-year-old Persian tradition that this year offers a brief escape from the country’s economic woes.
The celebration is held on the last Tuesday night before Nowruz, or the Iranian New Year, which will be celebrated this Thursday. The annual ritual dates back to at least 1700 B.C. and is linked to the Zoroastrian religion.
To celebrate, people light bonfires, set off fireworks and send lanterns floating into the night sky. Others jump over and around fires, chanting “My yellow is yours, your red is mine,” invoking the replacement of ills with warmth and energy.
The fire festival is one of two holidays with ancient roots that are still observed each year, the other being a picnic day in early April.