After a 3-year gap, the bitter orange festival started on the morning of 12th Esfand (3rd March) in the religious, cultural, and sports complex of Zoroastrians in Shiraz and continued until late.
Bitter orange trees should be stripped of their ripe fruit before the beginning of spring, for better fruiting in spring. So, on 12th Esfand the trees give themselves into the hands of the enthusiastic Zoroastrian youth of Shiraz. After the fruit was picked, under the spring sun, the bitter oranges were thrown into water to wash away the months-long dust on them. And then, it was time to cut the fragrant fruit with their scent filling the air. Everyone joined hands to squeeze the juice out of the bitter oranges. Finally, the juice of the bitter oranges went to the kitchen and was poured into a large copper pot. White sugar was added to it amid the joy of the residents saying, “Habiro Shabash,” make a pleasant syrup. The next step was to make a tasty sauce from the pulp of the oranges, which was also done. he Nowruz travelers who stay in the Zoroastrian guest house, take the juice and sauce as souvenirs back home. One of the interesting events was coinciding of the blossoming of apricot and almond trees with the festival; blossoms that heralded the arrival of spring.
Photos by Shahram Pourdehi