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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Iran, Season 1, Lesson 23 - Mehregan Feast
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Iran Series at PersianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Iranian holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 23, Mehregan Feast. In Persian, it’s called Mehregaan.
Did you know the Iranian new year used to begin on the first day of fall? It was called Mehregaan, and it coincided with the fall equinox and the end of the collecting of the fall harvest. This feast was eventually moved to its current date, which is 15 days after the fall equinox. This day was traditionally referred to as the day of Izad-e Mehr.
In this lesson, we will learn about how at the Mehregan Feast, Zoroastrians use the color purple, spread out a tablecloth with special decorations, create a small fire on it, and then dance around it to strengthen their friendship.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
With what precious stone is "Mehregaan" associated?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Mehregan Feast is an ancient Iranian celebration recognized only by Zoroastrians. This celebration, held on the 10th of Mehr, is all about affection, kindness, and friendship among people, as its name suggests. The day is considered a day in which goodness, in Persian niki, overcomes evil, and in which light, or noor, is victorious over darkness. Iran's Zoroastrians celebrate this day by going to Aatashkadeh, a holy temple built in commemoration of fire, the most holy of substances to the Zoroastrians.
In the past, Iran was thought to only have two seasons per year. Nowrooz, or New Year’s Day, was the beginning of the first season, and Mehregan was the beginning of the second. Many people considered Mehregan to be the beginning of the New Year. Additionally, it occurs at the end of the harvest, so it marks the time when farmers, or keshaavarzaan, can rest and celebrate.
The color purple, in Persian arghavaani, is the official color of this celebration. On this day, people set out a special cloth and decorate it with objects. Among these objects are ever-green flowers and red fruits, such as apples, dates, persimmons, almonds, hazel, sea-buckthorn, and pomegranate. A particular type of bread made from seven types of grains is prepared, and people dance and have fun to festive music.
It is interesting to point out that each day of the Zoroastrian calendar has its own name. If the name of a day and of a month are the same, that day is reserved as a special day to celebrate the whole month, and the name of the month is read by adding the suffix "-gaan," as is done for Mehregaan.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
With what precious stone is "Mehregaan" associated?
The correct answer is peridot. Among Zoroastrians, it is said that God created peridot, in Persian called zebarjad, and ruby on New Year’s Eve. Peridot is a gem that is green and sparkles, and is the opposite of ruby, which is red. These two precious stones are used to represent the value and brightness of Mehregan and New Year’s Eve.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you have any similar festivals in your country?
Leave us a comment telling us at PersianPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!