11 killed in Iran while warding off 'evil spirits'

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11 killed in Iran while warding off 'evil spirits'

Celebrating the arrival of the Persian New Year, Iranians traditionally jump over a fire and set off homemade fireworks.

On the night of Wednesday, March 15, Iran traditionally celebrated the long-standing Persian holiday Chaharshanbe-Suri (“fiery Wednesday”), which marks the beginning of the New Year according to the Persian calendar. According to custom, participants in the celebrations jump over the fire and set off homemade fireworks, which often leads to burns and even death.

According to france24, this year's celebrations have claimed 11 lives and more than 3,500 people have been injured.

Iran's emergency services chief, Jafar Miadfar, said that 26 people had died in incidents related to Chaharshanbe Suri since February 20, of which at least 11 died on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday.

During the festival, participants jump over the bonfire to purify themselves and ward off evil spirits while singing “I give you my yellow color (symbol of sickness)” and “I accept your red color (symbol of life)”.

The festival is part of Iran's pre-Islamic heritage and is generally not accepted by the Shia clergy who consider it pagan.

Despite this, firecrackers and fireworks could be heard and seen that night even in public places. Information about possible detentions of participants in the action has not yet been received.

Recall that Iranian police have arrested more than 100 people suspected of involvement in the poisoning of hundreds of schoolgirls across the country.

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