A child leaps over the flames on Durant Avenue in Berkeley on Tuesday March 12. All photos: Kaia Diringer

On the evening of Tuesday March 12, Berkeley held its customary, and highly popular, Persian New Year Festival, the Chahar Shanbeh Suri, on Durant Avenue.

One of the key elements of the celebration, apart from the delicious food that is consumed, is jumping over fire. The tradition is seen as a cleansing ritual, bidding farewell to winter and burning away negativity. (Read about the celebration in Anna Mindess’s story published on Berkeleyside on Monday.)

Berkeleyside’s photography intern Kaia Diringer captured the joy (and fear) of the many local residents who made the leap.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...