Iranian Mythology Rostam the hero alibabatrek Damavand; The Symbol of Resistance iran blog -Iran-Tour

Damavand; The Symbol of Resistance

Goosfandsara the mosque camp alibabatrek Damavand; The Symbol of Resistance iran blog -Iran-Tour

Damavand base camp (3100m)

The Importance of Damavand for Iranians

Damavand mount has a special place in Iranian mythology and stories. This mount has had a significant impact on the thoughts of the Iranian people throughout history. You cannot find any mount as tall as Damavand in the Alborz mountains. The greatness and glory of this mount have been engaging the minds of the people for so long. Therefore, the ancient geographers thought of it as an unreachable mount. The ancient Iranians believed that the ski is holy. Therefore, Damavand mount which is the closest place to the ski is counted as sacred as well.

Also, due to its unique place in history, Damavand affects the lives of the Iranians in many ways. Damavand has been the subject of many artistic and visual works by famous artists. This mount is still a symbol that you can see in different places. Its pictures are on the current Iranian money, coins, posters, etc.

Iranian money Rial alibabatrek Damavand; The Symbol of Resistance iran blog -Iran-Tour

Iranian Rials

Iranian coin alibabatrek Damavand; The Symbol of Resistance iran blog -Iran-Tour

Iranian Coin

Barfchal Ceremony

The inhabitants of Ab Ask village perform this ritual every year in the spring. They collect the snows left since the winter and collect them in a whole. This ritual shows the foresight of these people. They store the snows so they can have enough water in summer. At the end of this ritual the time of having food and celebrating comes. The inhabitants of Ab Ask village do this ceremony mostly because of their religious beliefs nowadays. This ceremony has been held for more than six centuries now.

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Barfchal Ceremony

Varf-Chal-Traditional-Ceremony-Ab-Ask-village-Iranian Mythology Zahhak alibabatrek Damavand; The Symbol of Resistance iran blog -Iran-Tour

Barfchal Ceremony

Mount Damavand in Iranian Mythology

Many stories and myths are about Damavand due to its holiness. Some of the most critical mythologic events have occurred in Damavand. This mount is most famous for the legend of Zahaak and Fereydoun. Here are two of the most famous Iranian myths related to Mount Damavand.

Zahhak and Fereydoon:

According to Shahnameh by Ferdowsi Zahaak was a ruler that evil was able to deceive him easily. He had two snakes on his shoulders because the devil had kissed his shoulders. These two snakes were not removable because as soon as someone cut off their heads, another snake would replace it. These two snakes only ate human brains for food. Therefore, Zahaak had ordered to kill two men each day and feed their brain to these snakes. Fereydun was a young man who agreed to lead the people against Zahaak. He fought Zahaak and defeated him in the battle. But, he didn’t kill Zahaak. Fereydun imprisoned him in a cave underneath mount Damavand. This cave is the place where Zahaak will stay until the end of the world. Still, some of the residents near mount Damavand believe that Zahaak is in that cave. They also think that some of the sounds they sometimes hear in Damavand are Zahaak shouting and crying.

Iranian Mythology Zahhak alibabatrek Damavand; The Symbol of Resistance iran blog -Iran-Tour

Ferdowsi‘s Shahnameh, Zahhak

Arash the Bowman:

In a war between Iranians and Turanians, both sides agreed for peace. They decided that wherever the bowshot of an Iranian bowman falls, will be returned to Iran. Therefore, the Iranians chose the best archer they had (Arash) and made a special bow and arrow. Arash stood on the top of the Mount Damavand and fired the arrow. The arrow flies since the dawn until sunset. The place where the arrow landed, became the border between Iranians and Turanians. Arash the Bowman dies at the second he fires the arrow because of using all his power. His body tears into pieces and spreads all around Iran and his soul flies with the arrow.

Iranian Mythology Arash the archer alibabatrek Damavand; The Symbol of Resistance iran blog -Iran-Tour

Arash The Archer sculpture in Sa’adAbad Palace

Poems About Damavand

Mount Damavand has always been the symbol of endurance of the Iranians. Therefore, it has attracted the attention of many Iranian poets of different eras. Ferdowsi, Rumi, Nizami, Vahshi Bafqi, Malek o-Shoara Bahar any many others have written poems about Damavand. For example, one of the most famous poems about Damavand is Ode to Damavand by Malek o-Shoara Bahar.  In this ode, Malek o-Shoara used Damavand as the symbol of intellects of Iranian society in the 20th century. Malek o-Shoara believes their features are isolation, separation from the ordinary people and being upset with them.

You can see some verses of this beautiful critical poem below:

O’Shackled white demon!

O’dome of the world, Damavand!

You have a helmet on your head of silver

And a belt on your waste of iron

To cover your face from people

You have hidden your face behind clouds.

In order, to be left alone by these human-faced animals

And these demon-like, sinister people,

You have made a treaty with the lion of sky

And unified with the lucky star

When the earth became cold, dark and

Silent by the celestial oppression,

It threw its fist of rage up the sky,

And you are that fist, O’Damavand!

You are that mighty rough fist of earth

Inherited through long centuries

Europeans in the history of Damavand

The first Europian who wanted to conquer Damavand French. His name was Antoine Olivier, and he was a natural sciences researcher. He came to Iran due to his mission for gathering some information about the Middle East. During his first attempt at conquering Damavand, he found sulfurous rocks on his way. However, he couldn’t conquer Damavand on his first attempt. He tried once more some years later, and this time he managed to conquer Damavand successfully.

Jacques de Morgan travelled the north and south of Iran with the help of the French government. Although he did many valuable services in the field of archaeology, he was a geologist as well. In the winter of 1889, de Morgan tries conquering Mount Damavand but fails at 5300 meters. He provides a plan of Mount Damavand and goes back to France.

De Morgan’s program of climbing is significant because it happened 120 years ago in -26 centigrade temperature.

Mt.Damavand Top alibabatrek Damavand; The Symbol of Resistance iran blog -Iran-Tour

Mt.Damavand (5671m)

Damavand and Music

Shahin Farhat is an Iranian music composer who has composed Damavand symphony. He mentions this symphony as his best work. This symphony includes three parts; the first part visualizes the personality of Damavand and an abstract conquering. The second part is about the beauties of Mount Damavand. Finally, the third part envisions the snow and blizzard in Damavand. Then, this part finishes by describing the glory of Damavand.

Nowruz and its Origins - alibabatrek - 11th Annual Celebration of Nowruz at UCLA's Royce Hall and Dickson Courts - Iran blog - Persian new year - Iran traditions

Nowruz and its Origins

Persian New Year has a long history. It includes some traditional cultures and symbols. If you are going to plan an Iran journey, Iranian New year would be a great time so you can celebrate Nowruz in this beautiful country.

  • The beginning of the Persian New Year 1398 (Nowruz 2019) will be on Thursday, March 21st, 2019, 1:28:27 am
Nowruz and its Origins - alibabatrek - 11th Annual Celebration of Nowruz at UCLA's Royce Hall and Dickson Courts - Iran blog - Persian new year

11th Annual Celebration of Nowruz at UCLA’s Royce Hall and Dickson Courts

1.The dawn of Nowruz in history

Nowruz is the traditional Iranian New year which starts at the exact moment of the vernal equinox, commencing the start of the spring. The name comes from Avestan meaning “new day/daylight.” Iranians celebrate Nowruz on March 20/21 each year, at the time the sun enters Aries and spring begins. Some historical narratives attribute the beginning of Nowruz to Babylon. According to these narratives, the current trend of Nowruz in Iran dates back to 538 BC. When Cyrus the Great invaded Babylon. Also, some tales say that Zarathustra was the founder of Nowruz. Iranians have been celebrating New Year for at least 3,000 years. We deeply consider it rooted in the rituals and traditions of the Zoroastrian religion. Many Asian cultures are now celebrating Nowruz such as Iran, Iraq, India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

The tablecloth of 7 items

Haft-Sin هفت سین is somehow the most important part of the Iranian New Year. It is a table consist of 7 Items with a common feature in Persian literature. They all start with the consonant of S.

  • Garlic sign of health
  • Coin sign of prosperity
  • Sumac taste of life sign
  • Senjed (Russian olive) sign of love
  • Apple sign of beauty and kindness
  • Sabzeh (Sprouts) sign of newness
  • Samanu sign of blessing
  • Vinegar sign of patience and happiness
  • Symbol flower or Hyacinth sign of spring

The following items of our list don’t share that common feature.

  • Mirror (sign of light)
  • Hafez and the Quran (signs of faith and belief)
  • Candle (sign of intellectual light)
  • Fish (sign of life)
  • Egg sign of fertility

On New Year’s Day, Iranian families gather around their Haft-Sin and wait for the very moment. Some families keep their Haft-Sin during the thirteen days of Nowruz.

Nowruz and its Origins - alibabatrek - The tablecloth of 7 items - Celebration of Nowruz - Iran blog - Persian new year

The tablecloth of 7 items

3.Sabzeh and its origins

As I mentioned before Sabzeh or the Sprouts that we plant for our Haft-Sin is a sign of newness. Planting sprouts have been common among Iranian families for a long time. They usually start planting it in the last month of the year.

Sabzeh in the past:

In the past, twenty-five days before Nowruz, citizens used to build twelve pillars of raw clay in the square of cities. People used to plant 12 kinds of seeds on these pillars. On the sixth day of Farvardin, with a hymn and joy, they picked them and threw them in the air.

Some traditions:

In some cities, people consider the third Wednesday of the last month to plant their Sabzeh. They keep it till the 13th day of Farvardin to give it away to the water.

Nowruz and its Origins - alibabatrek - Sabzeh - Mahi Celebration of Nowruz - Iran blog - Persian new year


4.The man who used to protect fire

The Persian version of Santa in Iran is Hajji Firuz! He is a fictional folklore who appears in the streets by the beginning of Nowruz. A black face, bright red clothes, and a felt hat are his features. There are different theories about the origin of Hajji Firuz. One of them says: Fire is an important element in the Zoroastrian religion. According to that, there was a man who had to protect the fire in the fire temples. Now we know that the blackface is because of the soot. He used to preserve the fire all the winter. At the beginning of spring, he left the fire temple to give the massage of New Year’s arrival.

Hajji Firuz & Amoo Nowruz

5.What to eat on New Year’s Day

Till now you must know that we have a variety of foods, fruits, vegetables and nuts in Iran. Families pay a lot of attention to what to buy for the New Year. One of our traditions is to have fish and rice mixed with a specific vegetable for New Year’s Day meal. Iranian people spend some of their holidays to visit their relatives so if you live in Iran you need to be prepared for that. For that, we buy fruits and nuts to welcome our guests.

Sabzi Polo - iran-Nowruz and its Origins - alibabatrek - Celebration of Nowruz - Iran blog - Persian new year

Fish and rice mixed with a specific vegetable

6.Festival of fire

  • Chaharshanbe Suri is on March 19th, 2019

One of our oldest traditions is Chaharshanbe Suri. Iranian people welcome Nowruz by setting a fire and jumping over it on the last Tuesday of the solar year. On this day, people hold a ceremony to repel their evil desires and meet their aspirations. Chaharshanbe Suri dates back to centuries ago.

The appearance of fireworks in Chaharshanbe Suri:

At first, it was Nasser-al-Din Shah who brought fireworks to Iran with the help of French. First, they held it for the entertainment of Shah and after that people took part in it. In that time they held the ceremony in Toopkhaneh square, then time passed, and it became like what we can see today.

fireworks-iran-Nowruz and its Origins - alibabatrek - Celebration of Nowruz - Iran blog - Persian new year

Festival of fire

7.Sizdah Be-dar

  • Sizdah Be-dar is on April 2nd, 2019

As we know, Sizdah Be-dar is one of Nowruz traditions. People go out to camp in nature with their families. Iranians are entirely familiar with this day, and they make lots of memories on this day. This day is too crucial among us, and we make plans for it before it comes. Name of 13th of Farvardin in our calendar is nature day, and it’s a holiday.  Families spend time playing games, cooking food in nature and lots of other activities.

sizdah-bedar-iran-Nowruz and its Origins - alibabatrek - Celebration of Nowruz - Iran blog - Persian new year

Sizdah Be-dar

*Tips for Travelling Iran during Nowruz

Now that you know about Nowruz and Iran’s atmosphere in this period, it might be a good time for you to book a Persia tour. Going on an Iran tour at this time has its own pros and cons.  Different cities of Iran have their own tradition for the New Year, and you get to see a lot at this time. Besides that in this period, most of our cities are crowded. Hotels and other places to stay are out of capacity, and it’s heavy traffic on the roads between cities. So for better management of time, we suggest you visit Iran after the holidays.