March 14, 2010
Fearful Supreme Leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei, has condemned the ancient Persian festival of fire, an annual celebration held on the last Tuesday night/Wednesday eve of the year, prior to the national Persian New Year, Norooz which celebrated the Vernal Equinox, the arrival of spring.
The Chahar Shanbe Soori festival, in which celebrants traditionally light bonfires and leap over them, is linked to the ancient Zoroastrian religion — which predates the seventh-century introduction of Islam in the region. Khamenei claimed that this festival is anti-Islamic and Pagan, that it is fire-worshipping.
The Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reports that Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the event is un-Islamic because it is a pagan ritual that worships and sanctifies fire and as such must be prevented at all cost.
Also according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) Khamenei issued a Fatwa saying: “Not only does it not have a basis in religion, but it entails a great deal of harm and corruption and it would be appropriate to be avoided.”
In recent days Khamenei has also announced that the nature of the Persian New Year (Norooz) is corrupt and leads to unethical thinking and behavior. Norooz which is a 3000 year old tradition is celebrated by more than 300 million people ranging anywhere from the Black Sea, Caucas region, Central Asia, various parts of the Middle and Near East, as well as many other parts of the world.