Omid Habibinia
Last updated: 3 April, 2013

VIDEO: A day for song and dance regardless of Islamic laws

On April 2, at the end of the Persian new-year holiday, Iranians left the bustling city and went into nature in the suburbs to dance and sing, despite the threats from police and Bassijies.

Sizdah-Be-Dar is the 13th day of Norouz, the Persian new-year, a day when Iranians celebrate nature. In this big public party, young people dance, sing and have fun.

After eating launch girls go to knot blades of grass, hoping to get a handsome husband during the new year. Then families throw the Norouz grass into the river, which is believed to bring happiness.

Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic, however, many Persian festivals with roots in pre-Islamic civilizations, such as Charshanbe Souri and Sizdeah be Dar, host big parties with girls and boys dancing and singing. These events are not tolerated by the regime. Thousands of special police and Bassijies forces take to the streets to control Hijab and “non-Islamic” behaviors.

Despite the risks, millions of Iranians continue celebrating their traditional festivals against th will of the government. Nourouz brings a message of hope and battle for justice, which is why many Iranians in Iran and outside the country celebrate its festivals with a political agenda in mind.

In this video, captured last year in Rajaei Shahr Prison, where journalists and other political prisoners are jailed, the prisoners sing a popular anthem and wish for the end of injustice and dictatorship in Iran. The journalists in this video include Masoud Basatani, who was out for short leave during the Norouz holiday and spent it in front of Evin Prison where his wife is imprisoned.

In the video seen above, recorded two years ago in Fasham near Tehran, young girls and boys are dancing and singing, a picture which Islamic Republic officials don’t want to see.

Perhaps there is still hope that Iranians can dance and sing in the streets and suburbs freely next year.