Gahambar is one of the most significant festivals celebrated by the Zoroastrian community across the world. The occasion marks the six different seasonal festivals giving an opportunity for the Zoroastrians to gather and enjoy the various delicacies prepared. Each Gahambar is celebrated across five days with immense splendor and grandeur. The Zoroastrians honor the six different materials that are considered responsible for the creation of the earth, namely, heaven, earth, water, flora, fauna and man. By celebrating this festival, the Zoroastrians attempt to spread the message of peace and harmony amongst all human beings and pay a tribute to the creator of the world. Moving ahead, let us look at the meaning of Gahambar. What does it mean? Scroll on further to know.
What Is Gahambar
The name of the festival as given by Indian Zoroastrians is Gahambar or Ghambar, while the name stated by Iranian Zoroastrians is Gahanbar or Gaahanbaar. The term has been defined differently by different legends. Some consider the word ‘gahanbar’ to be derived from Persian, which means ‘time storage’. Through this meaning, the festival signifies storing food for the winter season or accessing the stored food during this season. This is marked by distributing and collecting dried fruits and nuts, known as lurg in Persian, by the assembly for storing.
Other legends indicate the meaning of gahambar as ‘time-gathering’, or the time for gathering food and people. The word ‘gah’ is the period into which a day is divided. This term is also assumed to be a cycle of time, such as a day, month or year that is divided. For dividing the seasons, the Zoroastrians have divided the year into six seasons (fasl) or harvest times (gahambars). Hence, the entire Zoroastrian community considers each of the six Gahambars as an opportunity to assemble in a gathering and share food amongst each other. Everyone makes attempts to resolve old disputes and create new friendship relations.
Different community members volunteer for preparing the food and serve them to the rich and poor alike. Everyone sits together for the meal and enjoys the different delicacies prepared. This custom is followed to express communal togetherness amongst all Zoroastrians. By doing so, they try to pay a tribute to God and His creation. Each of the Gahambar is a reminder to the Zoroastrians about their roots and good deeds that they should perform, such as radith (being charitable), rastih (being truthful), celebrating the Gahambars, observing the three-day ceremony after death, worshipping God, building lodgings for the poor and wishing everyone good luck.