Dancing and jumping over fire, Iranians use holiday to defy rules

Mar14,2024



Iranians have looked for opportunities in recent months to demonstrate defiance against the rules clerical government, Tuesday night's anniversary celebration fire festivalMany got a chance.
across iranThousands of men and women gathered in the streets, dancing wildly to music and jumping joyfully over large bonfires, according to videos on social media and interviews with Iranians. Police said crowds in Tehran and other cities were so large that traffic was disrupted. According to Iranian news reports, the stoppage lasted for several hours and passengers had difficulty accessing public transportation.
danceEspecially for men and women together, is prohibited in public in Iran and has long been a form of Oppose,
In many places, the gatherings turned political, with crowds chanting, “Freedom, freedom, freedom,” “Death to the dictator” and “Get lost, clerics,” according to videos and interviews with participants. In the city of Rasht in northern Iran, a mob attacked security officers on motorcycles, video showed.
Iranians celebrating ancient Persian tradition Chaharshanbe Suri Before the coming new year, Navroz, which is the first day of spring. In a ritual on the eve of the last Wednesday of the year, people jump over a fire to cleanse the soul of the malaise of the old year and take in the glow of the flames in preparation for the New Year.
The dancing crowd was another example of how far a large segment of Iranian society, especially the youth, has moved away from the ruling clerics. “The people are very happy, God wants the Islamic Republic to be overthrown,” a narrator of the celebrations in the city of Karaj said in a video published by BBC Persian.
The government crushed a nationwide uprising in 2022, led by women and girls who demanded an end to clerical rule. Since then, many Iranians have used religious ceremonies, popular songs, and sporting events to continue demanding change.
When the revolution overthrew the monarchy in 1979, the new clerical rulers declared an Islamic theocracy and for years discouraged and even banned pre-Islamic Persian ceremonies, including Chaharshanbe Suri. But Iranians continue to celebrate this ritual, which they consider an inseparable part of Iranian culture.
“Celebrations of Persian holidays and exhibitionism of joyous gatherings have become inherently political, which is why we're also seeing anti-government slogans,” said Nahid Siamdoust, an assistant professor of media and Middle East studies at the University of Texas at Austin. ” “These celebrations unite Iranians across the country and provide people with an opportunity to display a sociability that is contrary to the culture imposed by the state.”
In some apartment complexes in Tehran and other cities, DJs played Persian pop songs and packed crowds danced and sang, according to videos on social media and BBC Persian. At other locations, music was playing from speakers mounted in the open trunks of parked cars. Young women danced on top of cars and in groups, waving their hair, defying the mandatory hijab law.
Video on BBC Persian shows people circling around a bonfire and holding hands while singing “For women, for life, for freedom” lyrics from “Baraye”, an anthem of the female-led uprising in 2022 . Singer-songwriter Sherwin Hajipur won a Grammy Award last year for this song. This month, Iran had sentenced Hajipur to jail. Nargess, a 35-year-old woman from Tehran, said her singing on Tuesday was a way to show solidarity, who asked that her last name not be used for fear of retribution.
There were reports of sporadic clashes between the crowd and security forces on social media. A video showed the crowd dispersing by breaking the windows of a café in Tehran's Narmak neighborhood, where people had gathered to dance.
Every year, the number of casualties increases due to unsafe handling of homemade explosives and fireworks at celebrations. According to official media reports, Iran's emergency center said at least 14 people were killed and about 1,800 were injured by burns.



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