Zoroastrians to observe Mehregan aimed to cement friendships

October 2, 2018 - 2:15

TEHRAN – Clusters of Iranian Zoroastrians are to hold reunions in celebration of Mithra, an ancient goddess of friendship, affection and love in the evening of October 2.

The celebrations are usually opened up with keynote speeches by Zoroastrian religious figures and officials, followed by Shahnameh recitations, exciting contests and other joyful customaries.

A key feature for the event is large spreads in purple laden with various ingredients, dishes and elements each on behalf of a particular belief.  Fruits, vegetables, dried nuts, sweets, rosewater, grilled lamb meat, lotus seeds and silver coins and a scale are typically placed, the latter symbolizes autumnal equinox.

Mehregan falls on the 196th day of the Iranian calendar year that usually equals to October 2 in the Gregorian calendar.

Mehregan was used to be a traditional autumn harvest festival with several accounts on its origins.

During Achaemenid era (c. 550–330 BC), Mehregan was observed in an extravagant style in Persepolis at a time for harvest when taxes were collected.

Avestan texts divide the Iranian year into two equal parts or seasons; summer and the winter. The advent of the two seasons are celebrated in Noruz and Mehregan.

The legend says Mehregan was a day of victory for Fereydoon and Kaveh, who overcame Zahak. They imprisoned him in Mount Damavand where he later died of his wounds. After the capture of Zahak, Fereydoon was nominated as the king and the people celebrate this occasion with great fervor. The story has been narrated in Shahnameh, a long epic poem by the illustrated Persian poet Ferdowsi (940-1020 CE).

AFM/MQ/MG

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