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Zoroastrian Dari Community Reaction to Chouette Films Video Installation

Today on the ELAR blog, ELDP grantee Saloumeh Gholami tells us about sharing this video created by Chouette Films from documentation of Dari speakers from Saloumeh’s project.

https://vimeo.com/212897192

  1. Please tell us a bit about the event. What sparked it?

I had sent the video to one of my colleagues who was collaborating with me on the Dari project. Two hours later, I saw that the video had appeared on various Telegram channels. (Iranians love Telegram. With approximately 20 million Iranian users, it’s the most widely used messaging app in Iran). The video was viewed more than 1000 times alone on one channel, and I received so many kind messages from people in the community. All messages were very positive. The viewers found the video brilliant.

Language recording at the Ashatad Izad Temple in Kerman
  1. Can you tell us a bit about the video’s content? What is being shown? Is there anything special about it? How did you choose what documentation from your collection would be included?

This video aims to show different aspects of Zoroastrian culture and religion in addition to the language documentation. At the beginning of the video, we see two speakers who are trying to convince a third person to speak Zoroastrian Dari, but that speaker refuses and says that she cannot speak it. Parallel to this conversation, we see other women preparing Siro, a type of traditional Zoroastrian bread. In the second part of the video clip, a speaker tells a joke in Zoroastrian Dari. In the rest of the video, we see different scenes of the Gahanbar Ceremony and the Tirgan Festival at the Fire Temple in Kerman.

Two speakers at the Ashtad Izad Temple in Kerman

Our goal in making this video clip was to show the cultural and social background of the language community. The film presents background on not only the language but also the Zoroastrian society in Kerman with their traditions, rituals, and other aspects of culture.

Women preparing Siro- a traditional Zoroastrian bread at the Ashtad-Izad ceremony

3. Can you share any of the messages or insights from the community? Were there things they particularly liked or disliked about the video?

I have received only positive feedback from the community. It was very important for those who collaborated with the project to see their names at the end of the video. They liked the selection of the scenes and the quality of the video edition produced by Chouette Films.

Priests performing Yasna during the festival of Tirgan, Fire Temple in Kerman.
  1. Why is this important? Can you give our readers some insight into why this is so special?

This video clip contains not only language material, but also documentation of ceremonies, festivals, and Zoroastrian monuments, which are of particular importance for religious and cultural studies. Because of this video clip, many people not only in Kerman but in all of Iran are becoming aware of the importance of the preservation of the endangered Zoroastrian heritage. Zoroastrians are now highly interested in their language and wish to be involved in its preservation and development.

Elderly ladies performing vase omen, Fāl-e Kūze, during the festival of Tirgan, Fire Temple in Kerman

Thank you, Saloumeh! To learn more about the Dari language, visit Saloumeh’s deposit, “Documenting a religious minority: the Dari dialect of Kerman, Iran”, found on the ELAR catalogue, here.

A Zoroastrian house in Kerman

Blog post by Saloumeh Gholami

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