The great gift of fire, and the Zoroastrian winter festival of sadeh

Forty days after winter solstice celebrations, at the height of the freezing cold and frost, the great festival of sadeh is celebrated in the Zoroastrian calendar. The festival of sadeh celebrates the longer daylight, and the discovery of fire. It is the sacred observance of the powers of vitality, and the energy of renewal, embodied in huge lit bonfires.

Sadeh, celebrates the discovery of fire, and its ability to banish the freezing cold, stagnation, and gloom. This festival is held in the frigid depths of winter, and has been faithfully kept alive among Iranian Zoroastrians.

The name sadeh most logically goes back to the Avestan sareta “burning cold, freeze, frost,” and seem to be a corruption of the Avestan original. Avestan sareta is a cognate of Lithuanian šáltas “cold,” and Latvian salts. Old Church Slovanic slana “hoar, frost” is also a possible cognate. The word seems to denote the “intensity, and burning sensation of COLD, FROST.”

All references to modern Persian sad, Latin centum “hundred,” appear to be recent folk etymology.

Godhood in Zoroastrianism is the bringer of light, illumination, vital energy and fire to mankind. There are many parallels between ahûrá god-powers of Zoroastrianism, and the legend of the Titan Prometheus, who defies the gods by stealing fire and giving it to humanity, an act that enabled discovery, progress and civilization.

Fire in the gathic poetry symbolizes “forethought, emotional intelligence, and passionate willpower.” It represents human striving, and the quest for the brilliant wisdom and the unfailing energy of the ahûrás, the pristine god-powers.

The bonfires of sadeh embody the creative genius, and all brilliant efforts that improve mortal existence, and will set the stage for the cosmological triumph of light/genius over stagnation and darkness.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The great gift of fire, and the Zoroastrian winter festival of sadeh

  1. A LAYMAN says:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s