SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Three people were killed and nearly 1,900 injured as they were celebrating Iran’s traditional fire festival in the runup to this weekend’s Persian New Year, according to emergency services.
Spokesperson of emergency services Mojtaba Khaledi told AFP that one of the deaths came in Tehran, despite an overnight ban on gatherings imposed in a bid to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
“Three people died during the festival, one of them in the capital,” Khaledi said, adding that another 1,894 people were injured, most of them men.
The Chaharshanbe Suri celebrations, during which participants jump over bonfires to purify themselves and ward off evil spirits, are part of Iran’s pre-Islamic heritage and generally frowned on by the Shia clerical establishment.
AFP cited Khaledi as saying six more people were killed in the runup to the event, seemingly referring to incidents in which people were handling explosives to make their own fireworks.