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Zoroastrianism has number of festival and sacred occasions 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.
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 |
| The Occurances 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 :
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.
Celebrations of Gahambars
Traditionally, Gahambars are occasions 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 occasions of feasting and get-togethers.
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