Festivals are days of religious, seasonal or historical importance celebrated by a religious community. They are generally associated with the religious calendar. Since there are three religious calendars among the Parsi-Irani Zoroastrians – Shahenshai, Kadimi and Fasali, most festivals can be technically celebrated thrice in a year. However, since the followers of the Shahenshahi calendar are maximum, the festivals according to the Shahenshahi calendar are more widely celebrated.
On account of the cultural and calendar differences between the Parsi and Irani Zoroastrians, some festivals are more emphasized in one culture than the other.
Festivals could be solemn or happy occasions. In Zoroastrianism, most festivals – either solemn or happy – are celebrated with the performance of a Jashan ritual which may have a thanksgiving or commemorative purpose. On solemn festivals the devout devote their time to prayers and religious ceremonies. On happy festivals, people decorate their homes, put on new clothes, prepare special food and visit the fire temple.
The main Zoroastrian festivals are:
Navroze – The Zoroastrian new year day.
Pateti “The day for repentance” – The last day of the Zoroastrian calendar year.
Muktad/ Farvardegan – The days of remembering all Fravashis “guardian spirits.”
Jamshedi Navroz – The festival of spring on 21st March
Khordad Sal – Prophet Zarathushtra’s birthday.
Zarthost no Diso – Day of prophet Zarathushtra’s passing away.
Sadeh – The celebration to mark the onset of winter.
Parabhs – The festive day in each of the 12 months – like Mehrangān, Tirangān etc.
Gahambars – The 6 seasonal festivals of 5 days each, spread through the year.
Rapithwan Consecration – The day for bringing back the Rapithwan – the Yazad of noon.