Events in Iran:
Muharram and Ashura-Tasoua
Ashura is the tenth day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar. For the majority of Shi’a Muslims, Ashura marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram, and commemorates the death of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH (in AHt: October 10, 680 CE). Sunni Muslims have the same accounts of these events, however ceremonial mourning did not become a custom – although poems, eulogizing and recounting the events were and continue to be common.
The Persian name of the festival consists of čahāršanbe, the name of “Wednesday” in the Iranian calendars, and SURI, most plausibly meaning “red” and referring either to fire or to ruddiness. On the eve of the last Wednesday of the Persian solar year, known as Chaharshanbe Suri or the Persian Festival of Fire, special customs and rituals take place in which everyone particularly children eagerly participate. The term Chaharshanbe Suri is made of two words meaning Wednesday and celebrations/red respectively, where young and old gather around and jump over fires that stay burning all night. These bonfires symbolize kindness, friendship, and light.
Nowruz (means New Day) is the name of the Iranian New Year which is celebrated worldwide by various ethno-linguistic groups as the beginning of the New Year. Although having Iranian and religious Zoroastrian origins, Nowruz has been celebrated by people from diverse ethno-linguistic communities. itto.org It has been celebrated for over 3,000 years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, and the Balkans. It is a secular holiday for most celebrants that is enjoyed by people of several different faiths, but remains a holy day for Zoroastrians.
Yalda Night (Shab-e Yalda) is one of the most celebrated traditional events in Iran which marks the longest night of the year, that is, in the night of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice. The longest and darkest night of the year is a time when friends and family gather together to eat, drink and read poetry (especially Hafez) until well after midnight. Fruits and nuts are eaten and pomegranates and watermelons are particularly significant. The red color in these fruits symbolizes the crimson hues of dawn and glow of life. The poems of Divan-e Hafez, which can be found in the bookcases of most Iranian families, are read or recited on various occasions such as this festival and Nowruz. Shab-e Yalda was officially added to Iran’s List of National Treasures in a special ceremony in 2008.