Sadeh — the English transliteration of Sadé or Sada, also known as Jashn-e or Jashne Sada, and Jashn-e or Jashne Sadé — is an ancient Iranian celebration. Jashn-e means “festival.” Because of the large bonfire that is customarily part of the celebration, the holiday is also called the “Feast of fire” — Adur-Jashn-e. The purpose of the fire is to drive away winter and defy Ahriman, the enemy of the creator Ahura Mazda, and the community joins in gathering wood to feed the special bonfire.
Sadeh is traditionally celebrated on two distinct days. Some say that this is due to the change in the Zoroastrian calendar in the third century CE. Whatever the cause, the two celebrations are both dated from other events.
The meaning of Sadeh is “hundred” and this refers to the fact that there are a total of 100 days before or after the event from which Sadeh is dated. In the Yazd tradition, the celebration of Sadeh is 100 days prior to Nowrouz — also spelled Nowruz and Newroz — the traditional Zoroastrian new year’s holiday, which falls on the first day of spring. Some sources indicate that Sadeh, however, is celebrated 100 days before the religious Nowrouz, which does not necessarily coincide with the first day of spring. In any case, this places the celebration in December.
The other celebration of Sadeh, in the Kermani tradition, falls 100 days after an obligatory feast called gahanbar, or gahambar, of Ayathrima, which is the beginning of winter. This places the celebration in late January.
In modern celebrations, the lighting of fires is accompanied with celebrations that include music and dancing, and sometimes the slaughtering of a lamb. Many participants also offer prayers and share traditional foods. The celebrations are mostly in late January and now occur worldwide. For example, the Texas Persian Cultural Center sponsored a celebration of Sadeh on 31 January 2009.