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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