Festivals > Zoroastrian Festivals > Gahambars

Gahambar is a festival of Parsis and holds great significace within the community. This Parsi festival is meant for honoring the seasons and occurs for six times in a year. Gahambar means "full time" or "proper season". There are the traditions of paying tribute to all the phases responsible for creation of world. These six phases are: heaven, water, earth, flora, fauna and man. Each of these elements of the world are associated with one Gahambara. The celebration of each Gahambar goes on for five days period.

There is a tradition among the Zoroastrians to pay tribute to the God - Creator and the creations of God. This helps in reinforcing the feeling of brotherhood. It is aimed at reminding Parsis of their roots and the good deeds that a true Parsi must do.

These deeds are radih (being charitable), rastih (being truthful), celebrating the Gahambars, observing the three-day ceremony after death, worshipping god, building lodgings for the poor, and wishing everyone well.

About Gahambars

The six festivals are : Maidhyozarem Gahambar ('heaven', festival)
Maidhyoshahem Gahambar ('water', fesival)
Paitishhahem Gahambar ( 'earth', festival)
Ayathrem Gahambar ('flora and fauna', festival)
Maidyarem Gahambar ('mid-year', festival)
Hamaspathmaidyem Gahambar ('all souls', festival)
Four liturgical services are performed during the first four days, and the fifth day is reserved for communal interaction. Celebrations begin with a benediction ceremony called Afrin. It is a prayer of love and praise in remembrance of one's ancestors.

The yaztas, or angels, and the fravashis are honoured next in the Baj prayers. This is followed by the main Parsi rite, the Yasna. The last of the four customs for social service is the Pavi. It is a prayer for the particular Gahambar being celebrated. The priest and the faithful pray together during the Pavi.

On the fifth day of the Gahambar, there is a solemn feast. People can either donate or serve at the feast. Those who participate are expected to recall not only the blessings bestowed by the seasons, but also the seven main acts that a good Parsi must perform.