The Story of Siavash and SoudabehAugust 9, 2019
It is said that in old plateau of Persia, it was tradition that in the proposal ceremony, the bride family shellacked the bridegroom so nice then they honored the young man by giving him the title “ShahDamad”. After that people would call him ShahDamad until another proposal ceremony happen in that society or group.
A similar to ShahDamad costume is the story of "mir-e-nowrouzi" or "Papa Norouz"
The story is like this:
“At the end of the each year, it was common that a feeble minded, non famous person was selected to sat on the throne and rule just for five days!! Everybody obey him (Mir-e-nowruzi)in this time and this was making a sense of entertainment and laughing and kind of criticism in society. All untold matters was expressing In the form of humor and it was a chance that the king listen to discontents. After five days the king got back to the throne.
It is written that later than this, a wicked person who was already sentenced to death had been selected to seat instead of the king for five days and at the end of this period he would have been killed accordingly. People considered him as a fall guy to save the king from disasters. They believed that after killing him, the king would be safe enough and the Lord would accept his sacrifice.”
When I was reading the story of Siavash in Shahnameh Ferdowsi (Epic of Persian Kings), i notice the similarity between this story and ShahDamad costume.
«Siavash, Prince of Persia escaped to city of Turan to protect himself from Soudabeh’s allegations (his stepmother) and married the daughter of King Afrasiab.He, got the authority in Turan; He built a city and his power made other courtiers jealous of him. They told the king that Siavash wanted the throne. They called Siavash to the palace and killed him in front of Afrasiab.»
A weird thing in this story that made me ponder about and i turned it over in my mind for long time was the growth of Parsiavashan plant from prince Siavash’s blood.
Now compare the stories and costume i told above with an epic story from millennia before Mesopotamian civilization;
In the period in which it was Matriarchy and the mother-goddess was worshiped, every year near Nowruz, queen-mother commanded to kill the king to sprinkle his blood on the ground. They believed this make the lands fertile. Then they selected another king that was symbol of the killed king who was revived.
As the time passed this tradition abounded with the rise of patriarchy. They didn’t kill men but beat instead and in some areas it is completely invalidated.
In this epic the queen-mother was consider as a symbol of goddess of water and the king as a symbol of god of plant and fertility.
In Siavash story, siavash who was accused by his stepmother ( Soudabeh “goddess of water”), he wear a white cloth (which is symbol of being innocent) and passed safely from the fire. Actually, the fire and the feast of Chaharshanbe soori (the last Wednesday of the year) was another costume. According to this costume in the last days of winter people make fire as a symbol of warmness to encourage or call the sun to be close to the earth again by making a simulation scenarios and feast the beginning of the spring and fertility of the lands.
Siavash (means the one who have a black horse), entered the fire and safely passed from it; then he married the daughter of King Afrasiab however they killed Siavash. Actually these events happened as a result of Soudabeh’s conspiracy.
Siavash is the symbol of fertility, god of plants, he died in winter.
Persian people used to grow green grass for the first day of spring and leave it on the water on 13th day; this is the symbol of revival. It is queen-mother (goddess of water) reaffirming with god of plants and fertility.
In the costume of Haji Firouz or Mir-e-nowruzi (the word “Haji” is added later to give a sense of religious to this old costume), Firouz is a man with a red cloth; He covers his face with black color; he play drum and flute and sing. The red cloth is the symbol of the bloodshed and the black face means “returning from the world of death and darkness”