Farvardingan Ceremony (Furudog)
As per Zoroastrian tradition each day of a month has a name . These names are the names of “Izad”s . Each month in the calender has thirty days and each has its own name.For example the first day is called Hormazd , the second Bahman (Vahman), the third Ardibehesht and so forth .
Some days have the same name as the month. So there are twelve monthly traditional religious festivals. The first one is called Farvardingan (Farvardin day and Farvardin month) . Farvardin has its roots in the word “Fravahar” and refers to the choice of leading a moral life. To Iranian Zoroastrians ,Fravahar is with the human souls which is the guiding spirit of human beings assingned by God (and will return to God after death).
“So the festival of Farvardingan or Furudog on April 8th is the remembrence day for the Fravahars and the souls of the departed.”
Farvardingan festival in Iran
From the morning of the 19th of Farvardin, Zoroastrians from different neighborhoods and villages head to the graves of their dear ones and recite Avesta for the fravahars to welcome them and that they may take their departure after the due offerings have been properly made and accepted. Tablecloths (Sofreh) are strecthed for the loved ones to pay respects and homage in special rooms allocated for this purpose. Feeling the absence of their loved ones, the families pray for the happiness of their departed soul and bring flowers , fruits and sukur with themselves.
Thousands of Zoroastrians in Iran participate in this ceremony. Farvardingan ceremony is held in cities like :Yazd,Taft, Shiraz,Esfahan,Ahvaz ,Tehran etc.
Zoroastrians on this day go to the cemetery and revere their departed, Pray to Ahuramazda , recite Avesta , listen to speeches given by Mobed, bake and cook local breads and foods which are served in traditional ceremonies.
FESTIVAL OF FARVARDIGAN
By: William W. Malandra
(New Pers. farvardagân), name of the ten-day Zoroastrian festival (gâhânbâr) at year’s end in honor of the spirits of the dead.
The name itself is elliptic for (rôzân î) frawardîgân (ten days dedicated to) the frawards. The festival is divided into two five-day halves. The first half is known as the lesser five (panj-e keh, khardag or kasôg), the second half, forming the five intercalary days, is known variously as the greater five (panj-e meh or vazrog) and Gathic (gâhânîg).
Among Persian Zoroastrians the entire festival may be referred to as panjî, while among Parsis the term moktâd is also used. Among the Parsis many observe an extended duration of eighteen days. Originally the festival fell on the last five days of the last month of the year, Esfand, and on the five intercalary days between Esfand and the first month, Farvardîn. Thus, it was an “all-souls” festival that immediately preceded the New Year’s festival (Nôg-rôz). However, owing to calendar problems occasioned by the Persian 365-day year, it appears that discrepancies arose already in Sassanian times between civil and religious calendars. This is witnessed, for example, in the contradictory testimony of the Dênkard (Madan, 683.4 ff.), where the traditional placement at the end of the winter and of the year is mentioned and that of the Pahlavi Rivâyat (ed. Dhabhar, p. 1) where the ten rôz frawardîgân are placed in the month of Âdur. Even in modern times Farvardagân will fall at different times of the year depending on which of the Parsi calendars (Shenshai, Kadmi, or Fasli) is used.
There can be no doubt that an All-Souls festival at the end of the year immediately preceding the celebration of Nowrûz is extremely ancient. It is possible to speculate about the original duration of the festival (Boyce, 1970, pp. 513 ff.), yet our earliest source (Yt. 13.49), already recognizes it as lasting ten nights. There it is identified by its ancient name of uncertain meaning Hamaspaθmaêdaya. The passage itself proclaims the worship of the fravašis of the righteous who come to the dwelling places of the living for the dual purpose of enjoying worship and receiving gifts of food and clothing. While the Pahlavi books and theRivâyats give little information about specific practices they do not deviate appreciably from the description of Yašt. Modern studies (Boyce, 1977; Modi) show that Farvardagân is, and was, a festival rich in detail, in which local variations embellish the basic purpose of welcoming into the home and treating with rites of hospitality the souls of the departed ancestors.
|M. Boyce A Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism, Oxford, 1977, pp. 212 ff. (detailed description of modern Persian practice).|
|Idem, “On the Calendar of Zoroastrian Feasts,” BSO(A)S 33, 1970, pp. 513-39.|
|J. J. Modi, The Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Parsees, Bombay, 1922, pp. 465 ff.|
|H. S. Nyberg, Texte zum mazdayasnischen Kalender, Uppsala, 1934.|