Iranians avoid bad luck with outdoor festival

— Iranians flocked to parks rich with the smell of grilled kebabs on Wednesday to toss around Frisbees, bat badminton birdies and battle one another in chess and backgammon — all to avoid being caught inside on the unlucky 13th day of the Persian New Year.

The annual public picnic day, called Sizdeh Bedar, which comes from the Farsi words for „thirteen“ and „day out,“ is a legacy from Iran’s pre-Islamic past that hard-liners in the Islamic Republic never managed to erase from calendars.

Many say it’s bad luck to stay indoors for the holiday.

„I know a family who stayed in and later in the day the leg of their young boy was broken when he fell down the stairs.“ said Tehran resident Fatemeh Moshiri, 48.

Iranian hard-liners have tried unsuccessfully for decades to stamp out the festival and other pre-Islamic events, which are seen as closer to Zoroastrianism, the predominant faith of Iranians before Islam.

They have had little success.

„When we go out on Sizdeh Bedar, we take ill-omens out with us,“ Tehran resident Marzieh Rahimim, 64, said. „Otherwise a quarrel may happen or an invaluable dish may be broken.“

Last week, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a Friday prayer leader, reiterated a common clerics‘ admonition that it is „superstitious“ to believe that the 13th day of the new year is unlucky or to think that the popular practice of tying blades of grass together on the day will bring good fortune.

Enjoying nature is commendable, Khatami acknowledged, but he said people should nonetheless keep Islamic values in mind because the festival comes a day before Muslims remember the anniversary of the death of the daughter of Prophet Muhammad.

Islam has been dominant for centuries in Iran, but the country’s Zoroastrian past has left its mark through festivals and traditions still celebrated to this day. The number of practicing Zoroastrians is a tiny minority in today’s Iran, however — around 60,000 people out of a population of more than 76 million.

State media and calendar makers choose to call the festival „Nature Day“ instead of Sizdeh Bedar, given the bad-luck associations with the number 13.

Families across the country spread rugs and set up small tents in outdoor areas to mark the holiday, sometimes just a few inches from their neighbors. They have lunch, sip cups of tea and munch on pistachios, fruit and candy.

Iranians also throw trays of sprouted seeds that have been sitting on their new year tables into running water to mark the occasion.

 

Veröffentlicht am 4. April 2014 in 2014, Dokumentation, Gesetze, Human Rights, Kultur, Medien, Meinungen, Politik und mit , , , , , , , getaggt. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink. Kommentare deaktiviert für Iranians avoid bad luck with outdoor festival.

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