Thousands Expected at Persian New Year Tonight
Berkeley residents should expect a crowd downtown on Tuesday for the celebration of the Persian festival Chahar Shanbeh Suri. The ancient festival marks the coming of spring and the Persian New Year, with activities like jumping over a small fire.
"The whole concept is getting ready for the New Year and it's kind of a cleansing operation," said Shahin Tabrizi. He's co-founder of the Persian Center, which sponsors the event. "You jump over the fire and the idea is you're kind of cleansing yourself, taking care of the dislikes and the hates and getting ready for what the universe will have for you in the future year."
This is the 14th year of the free festival, which draws thousands of people including students from around the greater Bay Area. Between 6 PM and 10 PM there will be food, music and fire, but no alcohol. The Persian Center is at 2029 Durant Avenue, near Shattuck.