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Hamaspathmaidyem Gahambar - Nowruz, Nauroz

nowruz, nauroz
Hamaspathmaedaya Gahambar

There are six communal feasts called Gahambars held throughout the year. Of these, the sixth Gahambar held during the last five days of the year - the five days before Nowruz - has special significance. This sixth gahambar is called the Hamaspathmaidyem Gahambar or Hamaspathmaedaya Gahambar. Hamas-path-maedaya translates as 'for/of all the path median/middle'. Restated, it translates as 'the middle/median-path-for/of-all'. The name could refer to the equinox with other elusive meanings attached.

While all Gahambars are dedicated to building and celebrating community, the Hamaspathmaidyem Gahambar celebrates the larger community of souls, both of the living and of the departed. All souls are welcomed to the festivities and the farohars of the departed are remembered.

For some Zoroastrians, celebrating the Gahambar and Nowruz together is an act of solidarity with the bearers of the proverbial eternal flame - individuals who sacrificed their lives in order to maintain ideas and values sacred to the core of a Zoroastrian's being.

Observing the Gahambar and Nowruz together results in observances of remembrance, perseverance and reminding community members to continually put into practice the underlying ethical values and guiding principles the community has held dear since time immemorial. For a Zoroastrian, the efficacy of a person's beliefs and values are demonstrated in that person's deeds. Festivals such as Nowruz and Gahambars provide the framework for community building and community action.

Hamaspathmaidyem Gahambar and the Zoroastrian Calendar
In the Zoroastrian Calendar, the twelve months are of thirty days each adding to a total of 360 days. The remaining five days of the year (six in a leap year), called the Gatha Days, are the days during which the Hamaspathmaidyem Gahambar is observed. The Gatha Days correspond to March 16 to 20 in the Western Gregorian calendar.

The first four days of the Gahambar are devoted to remembering and praying for the souls of the departed. The souls are invited to partake in the feasts on the last day of the Gahambar.


The Feast on the Last Day of the Gahambar
Dried fruits and nuts called Ajil or Ajil-e Moshkel-Gosha; (problem-solving nuts) are distributed at the Gahambar. Ajil is a mixture of seven dried nuts and fruits: pistachios, roasted chic peas, almonds, hazelnuts, figs, apricots, and raisins (keshmesh). Some substitutions are made according to locale, availability, taste (salty or sweet) and family preferences. Roasted squash seeds (tokhmeh kadoo), roasted melon seeds (tokhmeh hendooneh), walnuts, cashews, and dried mulberries (tut) are possible substitutes.

Originally, the eve of last day of the Hamaspathmaidyem Gahambar probably coincided with what is today called Chahr-Shanbeh-Suri, or Red Wednesday - the last Wednesday of the year.

Aush Reshteh
Aush Reshteh

One of the food dishes prepared for the Hamaspathmaidyem Gahambar and Chahar-Shanbeh-Suri is a soup called Aush (recipe).

Related links:

Nowruz, Nauroz Chahar-Shanbeh-Suri Farvardigan Days History of Nowruz Celebrations of Nowruz Haji Firouz Nowruz Spread Spring-Cleaning Other Names of Nowruz Prayers of Nowruz Sizdah-Bedar Customs & Foods of Nowruz Significance & Symbolism Tradition & Mythology Hamaspathmaidyem Gahambar
Nowruz, Nauroz 2022 dates
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1Nowruz, Nauroz21 March 2022 (Monday)

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