Coronavirus: Mehregan observed online to renew friendships
TEHRAN – On Saturday, Iranian Zoroastrians in Yazd celebrated their ancient Mehregan holiday practically because of the coronavirus concerns.
The religious event, however, took place a little differently from its original spirit, which traditionally holds meetings to bring together groups of devotees to celebrate Mithras, an ancient goddess of friendship, affection and love. love. The holiday is usually opened with opening speeches by religious figures and Zoroastrian officials, followed by Shahnameh recitations, exciting contests, and other joyous customs.
“This ceremony takes place every year in the presence of Zoroastrians, but last year and the current year it has been held online in Yazd province due to the spread of the coronavirus,” the one of the organizers, Manouchehr Arghavani.
Last year, all Mehregan celebrations were canceled or put online across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Meheregan, the biggest Iranian festival after Noruz, marks the autumn equinox when day and night are equal and it dates back to ancient times when the beginning of autumn was traditionally highly regarded.
Meheregan, the biggest festival in Iran after Noruz, marks the fall equinox when day and night are equal. It falls on the 196th day of the Iranian calendar year which generally corresponds to October 2 in the Gregorian calendar. The festival was once a traditional fall harvest festival with several accounts of its origins.
During the Achaemenid era (circa 550-330 BC), Mehregan was observed in extravagant style in Persepolis during a harvest time when taxes were being collected. The Avestic texts divide the Iranian year into two equal parts or seasons; summer and winter. The advent of the two seasons is celebrated in Noruz and Mehregan.
A key feature of the event are large spreads in purple loaded with various ingredients, dishes, and items, each in the name of a particular belief. Fruits, vegetables, dried nuts, candy, rose water, grilled lamb meat, lotus seeds and silver coins, as well as a scale are usually placed, the latter symbolizing the autumnal equinox.
Legend says that Mehregan was a day of victory for Fereydoon and Kaveh, who defeated Zahak. They imprisoned him at Mount Damavand where he later died of his injuries. After Zahak’s capture, Fereydoon was made king and the people celebrate this occasion with great fervor. The story was told in Shahnameh, a long epic poem by the illustrated Persian poet Ferdowsi (940-1020 CE).
Yazd, the birthplace of Zoroastrianism, is one of the must-see tourist destinations in Iran. In July 2017, the historic texture of the city of Yazd was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Wedged between the north of Dasht-e Kavir and the south of Dasht-e Lut on a flat plain, the oasis city benefits from a very harmonious public-religious architecture dating from different eras.
With its winding alleys, a forest of badgirs (wind catchers), mud brick houses, atmospheric alleys and centuries of history, Yazd is a pleasant place to stay, considered a must-see destination by almost everyone. The travellers. associates in the region.
The Yazd Jameh Mosque, Dowlatabad Garden, Yazd Atash Behram, also known as Atashkadeh-e Yazd, the Towers of Silence and the adjacent desert landscape are some of its sights.
Iran is seeking to inscribe Mehriban jointly with Tajikistan on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage.