Call for Safe Yearend Celebration

Call for Safe Yearend Celebration
Call for Safe Yearend Celebration

Ahead of the traditional ritual of ‘Chaharshanbe Suri,’ a social campaign has called for observing the event in a safe and simple way, especially in the wake of the death of 16 Tehran firefighters who died battling a massive inferno in Plasco commercial high-rise on January 19.

The last Tuesday night of every outgoing Iranian year is known as Chaharshanbe Suri or ‘Red Wednesday’, and celebrated by lighting bonfires in the streets and jumping over them “to shake off the darkness of winter and welcome the lightness of spring,” a Persian ritual passed down since the ancient Zoroastrian times to welcome Nowrouz, the New Persian Year (March 21).

The ancient tradition has transformed over time from a simple bonfire to the use of firecrackers and explosive materials that cause grievous injuries in many instances.

Prominent figures including artists and actors, journalists as well as the general public have supported the campaign on their social media platforms, news outlets reported.

The message is aimed at imbibing a culture of social and personal responsibility, particularly when actions could have harmful repercussions on other citizens.

Last year, a campaign to boycott firecrackers was launched to raise people’s awareness about the harm caused by explosive materials.

During the last week of the previous year, text messages on social media networks urged people to boycott Chinese firecrackers and explosive materials while observing Chaharshanbe Suri.

The message said the ancient Persian ritual should be observed as it used to be centuries ago, in a simple way with small bonfires.

The main aim of the festival is “to cleanse the misfortunes and impurities of the past year and welcome the New Year with good health and happiness and not with burn injuries, as is often the case with dangerous firecrackers.” Children in particular must be made aware of the risks.

The number of victims of burn injuries indicates a 250% increase compared to the year 2000, when there were three deaths and 421 moderate and 22 severe injuries. In 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, there were three, four, three, and three deaths respectively with over 900 injuries each year.

According to General Yahya Sharafi, head of the Crime Prevention Department, during the previous Iranian year, 1,355 persons were arrested in connection with smuggling of explosive substances, including 611 in the final month of that year, and 5,634 kg of explosive materials were seized.

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