Hājji Firuz, the traditional herald of NewYear

Posted by Universe (Tehran, Iran) on 10 April 2012 in People & Portrait and Portfolio.

Hājji Firuz is the traditional herald of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. He oversees celebrations for the new year perhaps as a remnant of the ancient Zoroastrian fire-keeper. His face is covered in soot and he is clad in bright red clothes and a felt hat. While ushering in Nowruz, Hajji Firuz plays a tambourine and sings "Hāji Firuz-e, sal-i-ye ruz-e" (It is Hāji Firuz time, It happens one day in a year). People of all ages gather around him and his troupe of musicians and listen to them play and dance through the streets with tambourines and trumpets spreading good cheer and the news of the coming New Year. The sound of his songs and the sight of his dance is often analogous to hearing Christmas music in a shopping mall, telling all that Nowruz is in the air. Although the blackness of his skin has been the source of some racial controversy in Iranian intellectual circles, Hāji Firuz's intentions and spirit have always been well-received and loved by the people. People consider it only as a face paint and there is no racial implication.
Others believe that the appearance of Hāji Firuz is related to creating a happy atmosphere in the families. The New Year's Day must begin with joy, happiness and laughter so that during the rest of the year the families will continue to be happy. It is for this reason that during these days there are people with funny makeup and joyful songs who will bring laughter and joy to families and with their comical jests and songs bring laughter to houses, streets and market places.