Tuesday, January 30, 2007

And a Spark Came Down from the Eternal Flame

It happened by the will of Mazda, when Hushang, the grandson of Kayumars the second shah of all, returning from a hunting expedition saw a black snake and decided to hit it by a stone. He missed the snake and the stone struck another stone and a light came out of it. The light was the first spark of the flame that came down from Mazda's eternal flame. The king suggested that this is a divine flame worthy of being held high in regard.

And then the king ordered a feast of singing, dancing, and drinking around the fire. It was the day we call Sadeh.

There are different stories about Sadeh and the origin of the feast but nonetheless Sadeh has been one of the most important Iranian festivals during thousands of years. The story I pointed out above is indeed the most famous account narrated by Ferdowsi in Shahnameh. The word Sadeh, literally means "century" or "one hundred". This is said to be due to the fact that Sadeh is celebrated on Bahman 10 (January 30), 100 days after the beginning of winter in the old Iranian calendar. Ancient Iranian calendar had only two seasons, summer and winter, and winter started on October 21. Another popular tradition suggests that the word Sadeh points out to the fact that from the celebrated day there are 100 days and nights remaining to the beginning of Norooz, the Iranian new year festival. There are other traditions about the meaning of the name and its historical origin.

Although Sadeh is not a widely celebrated tradition in today's Iran, many people, especially Zoroastrians in Yazd, hold feasts on this day. Unfortunately, Sadeh has coincided with Shi'ite tradition of Ashura, the day (in lunar calendar) in which the third Shi'ite Imam was killed, and so the Zoroastrians in Yazd had to cancel the feast. So unfortunate.


ali t said...

religious minorities are being oppressed in today Iran. it is a matter of great sorrow.

ali t said...


Homayoon said...

haminjam! sharmande, in hafte yekam saram sholugh bud, naresidam post bezaram (hamin alan yeki gozashtam). az farda term shoru mishe. khoda be kheyr begzarune!!