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Sadeh: Mid-winter Festival from Ancient Persia

Celebrating Sadeh Festival in Iran

Anasheh Bairamzadeh
3 minutes read

Sadeh Festival is one of the ancient ceremonies of old Persia. The word “Sadeh” means “one hundred” and refers to 100 days and nights before Nowruz, the Persian New Year. There are many different legends about Sadeh Festival which Iranians celebrate in mid-winter (on the 10th day of the month of Bahman). But whatever the legend behind the festivity is, the aim of the festival has always been the same. The actual purpose is to gather people together to defeat the darkness and coldness by honoring fire.

Where to celebrate Sadeh Festival

The Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians celebrated Sadeh Festival in a more splendid and glorious way. However, in some Iranian cities people still stick to traditions and try to keep that spirit alive. If you wish to see and be a part of this magnificent festival you should travel to Yazd and Kerman. Just then you may sense how this festivity brings different people together to spend some quality time during the night.

Sadeh Festival preparations

Now imagine the flurry of activity on the Sadeh day! There is a lot of excitement among people. Relatives and friends decide where to gather and light their fire. Even you may see some groups joining other ones whom they even do not know. This companionship and mixing is pleasant and joyful for them. Also there is a beautiful fact about this festival, people gather together regardless of religious beliefs. Sadeh is an ancient Persian festival which does not belong to any religion, Iranians of every faith celebrate it.

Preparations start in the city hours before the festival kicks off. The young ones collect wood to make a big pile so they can light a fire at sunset. You may also see delicious homemade food. People are hospitable and donate food. Once you are among them, you will feel their warmth and kindness straight away. They actually want to demonstrate their traditions, foods, happiness and hospitality. Because they feel the main motto of this festival is “all together fighting for one purpose”. People stand side by side during the hard times and cold winter with a generous attitude. It is really fantastic when you see and feel all this. Nice to know that in the modern world some spots on the earth are trying to stick to ancient traditions. These people try to keep alive some values of human beings including respecting each other and uniting for one purpose.

Celebrating Sadeh
Gathering of people for Sadeh Festival

Sadeh Festival kickoff

It is almost sunset, people have lightened up the Sadeh fire. It is so amazing! Happy faces are illuminated by fire light, joy and excitement is in the air and people keep talking and greeting each other. You get traditional homemade food and sweets. No matter who you are, locals hold you close like a family member or friend as if they know you for years.

Persian Sadeh
Sadeh Festival

If you plan to visit Iran during Sadeh Festival, you will definitely have a memorable time. Unite with others, light a fire and watch the flames keeping alive the hope that there will soon be an end to the winter.


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