Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Haji Pirooz (Haji-Firooz)

The traditional herald of the Noe-Rooz season is called Haji Firooz. He symbolizes the rebirth of the Sumerian god of sacrifice, Domuzi, who was killed at the end of each year and reborn at the beginning of the New Year. Wearing black make up and a red costume, Haji Firooz sings and dances 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 Nowrooz is in the air. Although the blackness of his skin has been the source of some racial controversy in Iranian intellectual circles, Haji's intentions and spirit have always been well received and loved by the people.
Others believe that the appearance of haji_firouz 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. If the families are not happy, the FARVAHARS who are guests of the families will leave the households which may result in the loss of abundance and blessings from the household. It is for this reason that during these days there are people with funny makeups 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.
In the king’s court also during such celebrations clowns whose profession was to perform mockery and comical acts would perform their skills while musicians played pleasant instruments. It appears that this task in ancient times was performed by black skinned slaves who, with their rather imperfect and strange accents and use of rather unfamiliar expressions combined with their humorous nature, brought laughter to people's faces.
Haji Firooz was originally called haji-pirooz, but after the Arabs conquired Persia, the sound of some words changed since in Arabic language they lacked a number of letters. One of these letters was "P" which they replaced with "F".

Pictures of Haji-Firouz (Haji-Pirooz):