What is the Fareshta ritual? (TMY, JJ of 10-3-19)

1. The Fareshta is an outer ritual, similar to the Jashan ritual in terms of composition, prayers and rites, but much longer. The word Fareshta is from the Persian language and it means “messenger of God, or angel.

2. In the Jashan ritual only a few Yazads are invoked. However, in the Fareshta ritual, all the thirty three Fareshtas, (Ameshaspands and Yazads associated with the Zoroastrian calendar) are individually invoked, followed by the recitation of the three Afrins. The ritual takes about two and a half hours to perform if there are two pairs of priests. Each pair of priests invokes 16 divine beings and lastly, Sarosh Yazad is invoked by both the pairs together.

3. For the Fareshta ritual, it is mandatory to perform 33 Baj-dharna rituals individually, corresponding to each of the 33 divine beings invoked, at the fire temple. In each Baj-dharna ritual, four darans, a boiled egg and a banana is kept. Thus collectively there are several darans, 33 boiled eggs and 33 bananas kept in the Bāj-dharnā rituals.

4. Like the Jashan, the Fareshta is generally performed for happy occasions like birthday, house-warming and thanksgiving.  However, rarely the Jashan and the Fareshta are performed also for the deceased. For the deceased, the Fareshta is especially performed on the Chhamsi (six monthly remembrance). Er. Dr. Sir J.J. Modi in his book “Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Parsis” says (p. 451) “The Fareshta ceremony is almost always performed on merry occasions.”

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Who can attend a Jashan ceremony? (TMY, JJ of 3-3-19)

1. Zoroastrian religion has many ceremonies and rituals, the shortest among which is the Kasti ritual and the longest existing ritual is the Nirang-din ritual. The basic rules and regulations for all the rituals is the same, which is to maintain sanctity and ritual purity in and around the ritual at all costs.

2. The presence of non-Zoroastrians in close proximity to the ritual very largely enhances the possibility of hampering the stringent rules and regulations of ritual purity required for the spiritual success of a ritual. That is why the Zoroastrians have the tradition of not performing even the Kasti ritual in close proximity and presence of non- Zoroastrians.

3. Even a Zoroastrian who is not in a state of physical purity and ritual-purity cannot attend or be near a place where any Zoroastrian ceremony or ritual is performed. The reason is the same, that in the presence of such persons, there is a possibility of disturbing the conditions for the successful performance of a ritual.

4. In the last few decades, a misconception has been going round in the community that non- Zoroastrians can attend a Khushali nu Jashan, that is, a Jashan on a happy occasion. This is, as it were, a misconception, because a Jashan is a Jashan, whether it is for a happy or solemn occasion. If at all, due to certain circumstances, the presence of non-Zoroastrians become inevitable, they have to be requested to maintain a considerable distance from the performance.