This little Haji Firouz was part of a Haft Sin decoration at the recent Norouz Bazaar. Norouz is celebrated by Persians with the arrival of the first day of spring as the start of a New Year. Since this Haji Firouz is made of eggplants and bell peppers, I thought he fits in a cooking blog.
The sound of his songs and the sight of his dance is often analogous to hearing Christmas music in a shopping mall, telling all that Nowruz is in the air. Although the blackness of his skin has been the source of some racial controversy in Iranian intellectual circles, Haji Firuz's intentions and spirit have always been well-received and loved by the people. People consider it only as a face paint and there is no racial implication.
Others believe that the appearance of Haji Firuz is related to creating a happy atmosphere in the families. The New Year's day must begin with joy, happiness and laughter so that during the rest of the year the families will continue to be happy. If the families are not happy, the Fravahrs who are guests of the families will leave the households which may result in the loss of abundance and blessings from the household. It is for this reason that during these days there are people with funny makeups and joyful songs who will bring laughter and joy to families and with their comical jests and songs bring laughter to houses, streets and market places.
Fire holds an important role for Zoroastrians. It appears that Haji Firouz represents the red-dressed fire keepers of the Zoroastrians, who at the last Tuesday of the year, was sent by the white-dressed Moghs (Zoroastrian priests) to spread the news about the arrival of the Nowruz. The fire-keeper's second duty was to call on the people to burn their old items in the fire, and to renew their life and regain health by obtaining the solved energy of the fire. The dark colour of the fire-keeper's face is allegedly caused by the heat of the holy fire. Fire-keepers use of rather unfamiliar expressions combined with their humorous nature, brought laughter to people's faces. Source: Wikipedia
This would be a fun little project for children to get them interested in the customs of the Haft Sin.