The request of non-governmental cultural organizations to the President:

Ancient traditions should be recorded in the calendar with their correct and historic names

In a letter to the President, fifty non-governmental cultural organizations demanded the registration of ancient rituals with their correct and historic names in the country’s official calendar.

The full text of the letter prepared by these NGOs, with the help of Afraz Association, and delivered to the presidential office on Wednesday, Azar 1st, is as follows:

With Greetings

Dear President and Chairman of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution

Dear Mr. Seyed Ebrahim Raeesi,

Greetings and greetings. Based on what was recently approved by the Iranian Public Culture Council, a sub-group of the supreme council, from 1403 (2024) two ancient Iranian traditions of Shab Chelleh (Yalda) falling on the last day of Azar month (20th December), as “the day of promoting the culture of hospitality and bonding with relatives” and the night of The last Tuesday of the year, which is the time of the celebration of the Chaharshanbeh Suri, will be registered in the country’s official calendar as the “Day of Respecting Neighbors.” As you are aware, these namings are considered as the removal of those ancient ceremonies and created a wave of dissatisfaction in social networks – where people can freely give their opinion or share similar thoughts – until the secretariat of the mentioned council had to issue an announcement that “Shab Yalda” has not been removed from the calendar and that title will be placed next to it, and the Chaharshanbeh Suri of the year will also be placed in the calendar with that name because it was not in the calendar before that. But in our opinion, the questions have not been answered, and we request you to announce your opinion on this issue, because:

  1. Now that forty-five years have passed since the Islamic revolution, the people have shown that by celebrating these traditions, for example, the meaningful tradition of Sizdah-be-dar – despite all the negative government propaganda and sometimes violent repressions in the celebration of Chaharshanbeh Suri – The national factor and their civilizational identity are remembered and celebrated, along with the Islamic religious customs. Hasn’t the time come to include these traditions in the official calendar with their correct and historical names?
  2. Is the attempt to distort these traditions a new policy taken after not getting intended result from the efforts to remove them?
  3. Don’t you know that when researchers study the history of these traditions, they realize that there were many events in our medieval and Islamic eras tied to these ancient ceremonies? These traditions are not related to any religion. Though, maybe, in the distant past, they may have had a religious connection.
  4. Have you not experienced, in these years, how suppressing a tradition such as Chahar-shanbeh-suri caused, for example, fireworks to come into the hands of our children in an uncontrolled and insecure manner which caused loss and grief to Iranian families, while for occasions in line with the government policies, the same fireworks are easily used (with strong support) and/or the government centers themselves are in charge of giving them out?
  5. Can’t you see how the traditions from foreign cultures, which sometimes have weak and vague meaning, are spread in Iran and the lands of Iranian descent, and the loss of this rich cultural resource (ancient festivals and traditions that are mostly, like Nowrooz, taken an Islamic version, and are mixed with our culture in every sense) deprive us of having a cultural tool to defend our historical wealth and identity?
  6. What necessity did the officials gathered in the “Iranian Public Culture Council” actually see when preparing such titles for traditions that are so clear and familiar to our people? which is also, at the same time, inaccurate. For Yalda night they have made up “The day of promoting the culture of hospitality and bonding with relatives”, while in this night, the custom is to gather in the house of the elder member of the family, not partying and visiting family and friends, like in Noswrooz! And “the day of honoring neighbors” for Chaharshanbeh Suri is meaningless, even if the tradition of “ghashogh zani” may have relevance, which we know has not been in the minds of the officials?
  7. But the main question here is, what kind of research did these titles come out of, and during the conversation with which professors of Iranian history and culture or anthropologists? And how did people, sometimes unrelated to history, literature, and national art, allow themselves to make decisions about something they are not aware of and, unfortunately, are even hostile to it? For example, even cultural activists who suggested the registration of Shab Cheleh in the calendar have not been consulted.

Dear President! Now that your colleagues inadvertently opened an opportunity to draw attention to this issue, we request you to order the relevant officials to insert these national days with their correct and historic names, and without any additional phrases – not one word less, not one word extra – for the next year’s calendar and request the government institutions to cooperate with the people in holding these celebrations.

With thanks and respect

From the following NGOs:

  1. The Union of Scientific Student Associations of Architecture, Restoration, and Urban Planning of Iran;
  2. Afraz Cultural Association;
  3. Trade Association of Tourist Guides of Tehran Province;
  4. Iranian Collectors Association;
  5. Sustainable Green Circle Association (Tehran Province);
  6. Third line association (Hormozgan province);
  7. New Thought Association (Tehran province);
  8. Citizen Rights Development Association (Tehran Province);
  9. Mehrboom Parsigan Association (Tehran province);
  10. New Coffee House Painting Association (Tehran Province);
  11. Nozhan Karun Cultural Heritage Association (Khuzestan province);
  12. Timreh Lovers Association (Isfahan Province);
  13. Mehregan Parto Project Association (Tehran province);
  14. Green Village Association (Tehran Province);
  15. Isatis Cultural Association (Tehran Province);
  16. Zendehrood Heritage Association (Isfahan province);
  17. Association of Lovers of Sand and Sand Land (South Khorasan Province);
  18. Dena Brown Deer Association (Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad Provinces);
  19. Fars Cultural Heritage Lovers Association (Fars Province);
  20. Pars Association, Siraf Museum (Bushehr Province);
  21. Ganzaknameh Shahnameh Reading Association (West Azarbaijan province);
  22. Zagros Biodynamic Association (Lorestan Province);
  23. Sarve Sayeh Afkan Association (Tehran Province);
  24. Association for the Protection of Animals and the Environment of Tehran;
  25. Association of Lovers of Lasting Memories (Qazvin Province);
  26. Ancient Shahroud Heritage Lovers Association (Semnan Province);
  27. Water Peace Association (Semnan province);
  28. Shabahang Literary-Cultural Association (Mazandaran Province);
  29. Cave and speleology Association of Iran;
  30. White Pars Youth Association (Mazandaran);
  31. The Association of Cultural Heritage Lovers of Tiran and Koron (Isfahan Province);
  32. Association of History and Cultural Heritage of Iranians (Alborz Province);
  33. Association of Lovers of Historical Monuments and Monuments of Noushabad (Isfahan province);
  34. Damab Lovers Association (Isfahan Province);
  35. Association of Enclosed Buildings of Iran (Tehran Province);
  36. Tariana Cultural Heritage Lovers Association (Khuzestan Province);
  37. Qazvin Culture Association (Afaq);
  38. Aliqapoo Historical Cultural Association (Qazvin Province);
  39. Susa Lovers Association (Khuzestan Province);
  40. Growth Supporters Institute (Tehran Province);
  41. Ganzak Institute of Young Artists (West Azerbaijan Province);
  42. Green Field Sustainable Development Institute (Semnan Province);
  43. International Institute of Man, Nature, Wildlife (Tehran province);
  44. Mehrazan Institute of Future Civilization of Pars (Qom Province);
  45. Pars Youth Center (Fars Province);
  46. Tasnim Damghan House (Semnan Province);
  47. Iran Processing House (Tehran Province);
  48. People’s Document and Cultural Identity Center of Shahrood (Semnan Province);
  49. People’s group of Didehban Estahban (Fars Province);
  50. Iran’s cultural and natural monuments observatory.

And also:

  1. Mehregan Association (Fars Province)
  2. Barbod City Children’s Association (Fars Province)
  3. Association of Honorable Members (Tehran Province)
  4. Iranian Culture and Thought Center (Tehran Province)
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