Summer festivals in Iran
Iran’s popular culture is rich with ancient festivals and ceremonies celebrating a wide range of subjects and seasonal events. These festivities, national or local, bring communities and neighbourhoods together. The three feasts of Tirgan, Vardavar and Nowruz e Sayad are celebrated at the beginning of summer and are examples of the truly multi-cultural nature of Iranians.
Tirgan: Legend has it that on the 13th day of the month of Tir, the first month of summer, Arash e Kamangir, an Iranian champion and hero, established Iran’s border with one of our enemies by releasing an arrow with all his might, a force so intense that it caused his own demise. The date is celebrated in many regions and by many people but particularly by Zoroastrians who celebrate it by eating special sweets and tying a seven-colour string around their wrists, only to release it to the wind after nine days, seeking and hoping for the fulfilment of their wishes. The ceremony is accompanied by traditional songs. In ancient times writers and thinkers were also celebrated on this day.
Nowruz e Sayad: Every year toward the end of the Iranian month of Tir (around the 13th of July) the fishermen of Qeshm and surrounding islands gather in the village of Salakh on Qeshm, to pay homage to the sea as the main source of their livelihood. They abandon fishing and hunting on this day to give the sea a day of rest. The feast, which literally translated means The Fishermen’s New Day, starts with giving thanks to God and his mercy for providing for them and continues with feasting, socialising and swimming. Towards dusk the party moves from the beach to the village where the merry making continues. The people of Salakh believe that a month after the festivities Canopus appears in the night sky over the Persian Gulf, heralding the arrival of cool breezes and the end of the hot season.
Vardavar: One of the most ancient Armenian festivals is known as the Water Throwing Feast in Iran. Iranian Armenians celebrate the date by playfully throwing water at each other, holding sporting tournaments and socialising. It is very popular amongst young children who pull pranks on each other and their elders. Today the feast is associated with celebrating the transfiguration of Jesus Christ, but it probably has much earlier origins and was shared by many Aryan people. It is very likely that the feast is in celebration of Astghik, the Armenian goddess of water.