The Afringan, Jashan and Faresta are three outer rituals having similar purposes, common prayers and identical ritual acts.
Afringan: The word Afringan means blessings. In this ritual Asho Farohars and souls of the departed are remembered. It is prayed several times almost daily in the fire temple as part of a set with three 3 other rituals – Farokshi, Baj-dharna and Stum.
Faresta: The word Faresta means “divine beings/angels.” In this ritual the 33 divine beings connected with the Zoroastrian Calendar are invoked. Its prayers, structure and rituals are similar to that of a Jashan, but it is much longer since more divine beings are invoked in it. In the Faresta ritual all the 33 divine beings connected with the calendar are invoked by the recitation of individual Kardas in their name and consecration of 33 individual Baj-dharna prayers in which bananas and boiled eggs are consecrated along with daran.
Jashan: The word Jashan is a latter form of the word Yasna which means veneration. In this ritual Ahura Mazda, the Fravashis, Daham Yazad and Sarosh Yazad are invoked by the recitation of certain prayers accompanied by ritual gestures. A Jashan can be a Community, a family or a personal ritual.
The Jashan ritual lasts for about an hour and can be performed in any ritually clean place. Generally, Jashans are performed as a thanksgiving for happy and auspicious occasions like birthday and house-warming. They are also performed to commemorate important historical events.
History: Performance of Jashan ritual has been recorded since ancient pre-historic times. The oldest recorded Jashan is the Sadeh, first performed during the reign of King Hoshang of the Peshdadian dynasty. Nowadays it is perfomed on roj Ava, mah Bahman. Some other historical Jashans are: Jamshedi Navroz, Mihrgan, Tirgan, Sanjan (roj bahman, mah tir) and Variyav (Ashishwangh roj, Farvardin mah).
Types of Jashan:
c. Commemoration / Invocation
Prayers in the Jashan:
· Atash Nyaishna (Praise to the fire ) Doa Nam Setayashne (In praise of Ahura Mazda)
· Pazand Dibacheh (Remembering and invoking the departed ones)
· 3 Kardas (invocations to Ahura Mazda, Dahma Yazad and Sarosh Yazad – other Kardas like Ardafravash, Behram and Spandarmad may be done according to requirement).
· 3 Pazand Afrins (for exhortation, blessings & Hamazor)
· Tandarosti (prayer seeking good health).
All the seven creations – man, animals, plants, water, metal, earth, and fire – are represented in the Jashan ritual either as a participant, ritual requirement or offering.
The priest represents Ahura Mazda, the milk/Malido/Rava represents Bahman Ameshaspand, the fire represents Ardibahesht Ameshaspand, the metallic utensils represent Shahrevar Ameshaspand, the earth demarcated by the mat represents Spandarmad Ameshaspand, the water represents Khordad Ameshaspand and fruits-flowers represent Amardad Ameshaspand.
While the Jashan ritual is in progress, the following ritual acts are performed. Each ritual act has a certain meaning and conveys some important religious truth. These ritual acts are:
1) Paevand: It is the connection formed by touching the fire censor with a ladle and then joining the hands of other participating priests for drawing divine energy from the fire.
2) Flower ritual: 8 flowers are arranged, two horizontally and six vertically, reminding the participants of the 2 worlds and imbibing virtues from six Ameshaspands. The descending and ascending picking up of flowers while saying humatanam hukhtanam and hvarshtanam remind us that we come from the spiritual world return there, taking back with us just our good thoughts, words and deeds.
a) Karsha ritual: Touching the ladle or tong to the metallic vessels on the four sides and four corners to fortify the ritual area. It also makes the participants aware of the omnipresence of God.
b) Hamazor: A special handshake performed by participating priests to share divine energy.
Overall message of the Jashan ritual:
1. Divine energy permeates the Universe and it has to be imbibed by humans through fire and rituals.
2. The need to take care of the good 7 creations.
3. The existence of two worlds – physical and spiritual.
4. Physical creations return back to the original spiritual state.
5. Need for communal unity and harmony.
Participation in a Jashan ritual by Zoroastrians is considered as an act of great merit. Participants not only receive divine blessings but also imbibe teachings by witnessing the performance of ritual acts. Those participating have to first perform the Kasti ritual and offer sandal-wood to the fire. After the ritual is over consecrated offerings, referred to as chāshni are partaken.