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Gahambars


Introduction
GahambarsThe festival of Zoroastrianism has number of festival and sacred Occasionss and Gahambars are considered most auspicious among the others. Gahambars a festival celebrated by Parsi community is marked in honour of Sky, Waters, Earth, Plants, Cattle and Man which are responsible for the creation of the whole world. There are six Gahambars in a year and each of these gahambars spans for five days.

The celebrations of Gahambars festival is marked by common feastings, paying tribute to creator of the world, remembering ancestors and general get togethers, so this auspcious Occasions spreads the message of peace, harmony among all human beings and signifies for Parsis to be attached with traditional roots and their good deeds.

Significance of Gahambars
The festival of Gahambars holds great significance among the Parsi community as it is celebrated as a manifestation of good deeds that a true Parsi must have, there are seven acts of goodness as follows :
  • Radih or being charitable
  • Rastih or being truthful
  • Celebrating the Gahambars
  • Observing a three-day ceremony after death
  • Worshipping god
  • Building lodgings for the poor
  • Wishing everyone's well
Significance of Gahambars
The celebrations of six Gahambars falling in a year is observed for five days and are based on its own themes as shown below :
Date Gahambar Name Meaning
Apr 30 - May 4 Maidyozarem Mid-spring feast
Jun 29 - Jul 3 Maidyoshem Mid-summer feast
Sep 12 - Sep 16 Paitishem feast of bringing in the Harvest
Oct 12 - Oct 16 Ayathrem feast during Herding time
Dec 31 - Jan 4 Maidyarem Mid-winter feast
Mar 16 - Mar 20 Hamaspathmaidyem feast of all souls

Origin
Gahambars were originally agricultural in nature, but as Zoroastrianism spread far and wide, assumed a religious dimension.

King Jamshed was the first person to observe this festival. Gahamabar has become an important community feasts by all Parsis all over the world.

Tributes are paid to the phases or elements responsible for the creation of the world. Each of the six phases - heaven, water, earth, flora, fauna and man - is associated with one Gahambar, and is celebrated over five days.

Celebrations of Gahambars
Traditionally, Gahambars are Occasionss of feasting and get-togethers. During Gahambars devotees meet, prepares for the celebrations, helps to make the food and share various delicacies communally. On this festival different dishes, according to taste, availability and family needs are prepared that includes fresh and dried food items. Apart from the hot food items a mixture of dry fruits, called Ajil is distributed among the members of family to take with them. Dry fruits like almonds, cashew-nuts, hazelnuts, apricots and roasted seeds are the key ingredients for making the meal.

On the first four days of Gahambars Festival, four liturgical services are performed. The fifth day is reserved for communal interaction. Prayers of love and praise are held in remembrance of one's ancestors in a benediction ceremony called Afrin.

In the Baj prayers, the yaztas, or angels, and the fravashis are honoured followed by the main Parsi rite, Yasna. Pavi is the last of the four customs for social service and the priests and faithful pray together.

On the fifth day of Gahambar, a solemn feast is organised where, anyone can either donate or serve at the feast. Each day of a year is a day under the supervision of an angel while a festival day is cared by a group of angels.

First Gahambar comes around on the eleventh day of Parsi month 'Ardibenesh', the second on eleventh of 'Tir', the third on twenty-sixth of 'Shehnever', the fourth on the twenty-sixth of 'Meher', the fifth on sixteenth of 'Dai' and the sixth on the first of 'Gatha'. Traditionally, Gahambars are Occasionss of feasting and get-togethers.

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