History of the Festivals

Mehregan the autumnal festival. It falls on the day of Mithra/Mehr in the month of Mithra/Mehr in the Iranian calendar. It is about October 2nd
on that festive day.

Thousands of years ago, a pastoral people called themselves Aryan (meaning 'noble'). Now termed by scholars as "Indo-Iranians", these people were the eastern branch of the "Indo-European" peoples. The Indo-Iranians inhabited the high and lowlands of Central Asia, at present politically divided into Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and the Central Asian republics of Kazakhistan to Turkmenistan, Tadjikistan, and Kirghizistan. They called this vast land "Airyanam Shayana", Abode of Aryans, a name now shortened into "Iran".


Avestan scriptures of Ancient Iran describe the land as having clear skies, high mountains, wide valleys, rapid streams, navigable rivers, deep lakes, and vast pastures. It had the four seasons -- spring, summer, autumn, and winter -- well marked with their clear skies, sun shine, moon light, starry night, timely snow, and welcome rain. The regularity in seasons made them quite calendar conscious. Theirs was a very hospitable land in those days.That is why the Avestan scriptures impart a buoyant spirit. The people lived, more or less, in peace and prosperity.

The Zoroastrian calendar reform has allotted the first month to the Departed as Farvardin, but retained the first day of the month in honor of Hormazd (modem Persia for God). The Supreme Being has, however, more days and a separate month. "Dathvah" (modem Persian 'Dey'), meaning "the Creator", are the 8th, 15th and 23rd days of a month and the 10th month. As far as Mithra is concerned, the seventh month and the16th day remain unchanged, dedicated to Mehr.

Iranians, calendar conscious and environmentalists, celebrated their festivals when the season took a new turn. The most important were the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. The New Year (Nava Saredha/ Sal/Nowruz) retained its old name to herald spring but the beginning of autumn was given a new name under the calendar reform -

*Mithrakana*/Mehregan after Mithra/Mehr.



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