The celebration usually starts in the evening, with people making bonfires and jumping over them.
The traditional poetic quote zardi ye man az to, sorkhi ye to az man is also sung, which literally means “my yellow is yours, your red is mine.” This means you want the fire to take your pallor, sickness, and problems and replace them with warmth and energy. It is a purification rite, which is traditionally regarded necessary before the arrival of spring at the vernal equinox.
The festival has also a custom similar to Trick-or-treating, in which people wear disguises and go door-to-door to bang spoons against plates or bowls and receive packaged snacks. The custom is called Qashoq zani (Qāšoq zani), translated as “Banging spoons.”
In recent years, however, dangerous firecrackers have been replacing the old, safe traditions, making the night terrifying for those trying to enjoy the historical festival.
Many people lose their lives or suffer serious injuries when making and using these dangerous fireworks, and there are numerous cases where firefighters have to risk their lives to save people from the huge blazes they create.
This year, the Plasco Building fire and collapse, which claimed the lives of several firefighters, and the campaigns launched in the aftermath to advise people against using dangerous firecrackers, managed to reduce the dangerous incidents.
Last night was not without tragic incidents, though. A 14-year-old boy and a 27-year-old man lost their lives in Tehran. Two police officers got seriously injured after a handmade grenade was thrown into their car in Tabriz. 2,000 people were also injured, including a number of men and women who lost their eyes.
However, statistics still show a 50% decrease in the number of wounded people compared with previous years. It will hopefully get safer in coming years.
Here are photos of the night celebrated in Iran on Tuesday night this year: