Tehran, Iran, Feb. 5--Thousands of Iranian Zoroastrians celebrated the religious feast "Jashn-e Sadeh" on Monday by burning firewood on open air spaces to signify the coming of spring and as a symbol of the eternal fight against evil, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The religious feast, which is sacred to all Zoroastrians, also features prayers and supplications to the Almighty God. In the province of Kerman, the Zoroastrian priest Kamran Kumarsi led the symbolic ceremony assisted by several young Zoroastrians who expressed hope that Iranians all over the country would join hands in the struggle to achieve progress.

Participants in the ceremony prayed for protection for the Islamic Republic of Iran from its enemies. Reciting verses from the Avesta, the religious book of the Zoroastrians, the ceremony also included the delivery of speeches, distribution of nuts and bread specially baked for the occasion.

A similar ceremony was held in Yazd, where local Zoroastrians called for prosperity of the Islamic Republic system and long life for the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei. Zoroastrian minorities living in the cities of Ardakan, Taft, and Yazd celebrate the feast of Jashn-e Sadeh annually as a tradition with ancient roots.

To Zoroastrians, fire is a symbol of brightness and purity. Meanwhile, Zoroastrians living in Shiraz, the capital city of Fars Province, also celebrated the feast.

Aflatoon Sohrabi, head of the province's Zoroastrian Association, told IRNA that the feast of Sadeh is in fact a feast of the victory of light over darkness and the raising of praises to the Almighty God. Over 600 Zoroastrian families live in Shiraz.

Shiraz's Zoroastrian Association had earlier announced that there are over 150,000 Zoroastrians all over the world, 30,000 of whom live in various provinces in the Islamic Republic, namely, Yazd, Fars, Isfahan, Kerman, and Tehran.

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