IRANIANS CELEBRATE NEW YEAR WITH TRADITIONAL FIREWORKS AND
Iranians mark the last Tuesday of the Iranian calendar year with
traditional fireworks and fire-jumping in Tehran on March 18, 2003. The
Iranian New Year starts on March 21. According to ancient Zorastrian
custom, jumping over fire gets rid of evil and welcomes in the new
year. The tradition is frowned upon by the Islamic Republic's clerical
establishment which considers it to be a pagan custom. However, many
Iranians view the tradition as a source of national pride.