Jashn-e Teergaan (Teergaan Festival)

by: Khodadad Kaviani

Iranians have always valued life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. 
Throughout the year, everytime the name of the day conicided with the name of 
the month, they would declare a special holiday and celebrate. Jashn-e 
Teergaan is a good example of this tradition. This festival takes place on 
the fourth month of the Iranian calendar, and the thirteenth day, which is 
Teer. So, the Teergaan Festival takes place on the day of Teer, in the month 
of Teer. This year, it was on July 1, 2001, which is equivalent to our Teer 
10, 1380.

Teer has two meanings. First, Teer or Teshtar (Sirius), is the name 
of a bright star that is seen during this time of the year in the eastern sky 
before sunrise. It is one of the 20 brightest stars in the sky in order of 
brilliance. It is located in the constellation Canis Major (The Great Dog) 
and has a magnitude of negative 1.46. This constellation has several bright 
stars, including Sirius, which marks the dog's nose. On star maps, each star 
is given a magnitude number; the larger the number, the fainter the star. 
For example, the Full Moon has a magnitude of negative 12.5. Teer which 
marks the eastern sky, is the Guardian of rain. It has helped to purify the 
earth and irrigate thoroughly the cultivated land. Majestic, bright and 
useful are the adjectives used to describe this star. According to part of 
an old Iranian text called, Bondahesh, we learn about the myths associated 
with Teshtar. "In the beginning, when the evil mind rose to fight against 
the holy mind, Teshtar came to the aid of the holy mind to fulfill its duty 
by causing rain." "...Each drop was the size of a bowl and rain covered the 
entire planet. Water level was to the full height of a man and it drowned 
all harmful bugs and animals. Then came the wind and drove the water off to 
the remote parts of the earth; thus, oceans were created. To rid the earth 
of the bodies of the dead animals and bugs that were causing diseases, 
Teshtar reappeared in the shape of a white horse with long hoofs. Its rival 
Apoosh, Demon of Lifeless and Dryness was 6.24 kilometers behind ( yek 
farsang) and in full pursuit of Teshtar. Apoosh was in the form of a black 
horse with round hoofs. Teshtar got scared and asked Ahuraamazdaa for help. 
God gave Teshtar the strength of ten young horses, ten young camels, ten 
ploughing-oxen, ten mountains, and ten rivers. Apoosh ran far away and kept 
its distance at 6.24 kilometers from Teshtar. This was the distance that an 
arrow would fly into the air. Apoosh was kept away one thousand steps from 
the sea and Teshtar, began the second rain. This time, drops varied in sizes 
from the size of a cow's head to the size of a man's fist. It covered the 
entire surface of the earth up to the full length of a man's arm. While this 
was going on, Teshtar hit its rival with a club and sparks started to fly. 
That's why we hear a thunder and lightening just before a rain storm. For 
ten days and nights rain fell upon the earth and all poisons and impurities 
got mixed with the water and they appeared in the form of salty water." In 
the end, victory was with Teshtar and in the honor of this victory, we have 
the 8th month of Iranian calender named Aabaan, which means "Waters." 
Aanaahitaa is the Guardian of all waters and is highly respected and praised. 
The 10th of Aabaan, is the Aabaangaan Festival and it is believed that on 
this day, Iranians learned that Zah-haak was replaced by Feraydoon and 
justice was returned to Iran. It is also said that after eight years of 
drought, it rained again and people were relieved. We all depend on water for 
survival and without it, there won't be life. During the Teergaan Festival, 
people would pour water, or rose water on each other and celebrate.

The second meaning of Teer, is "arrow." Erekhsha or Aarash, means 
the best archer of Aryans. It's the name of an Iranian hero that we read 
about, in the old Iranian/Zoroastrian literature of Teer Yasht. Here we 
learn that finally, after seven years of war, Afraaseeyaab (King of Tooraan) 
defeated Manoochehr (King of Iran). he sorrounded the Iranian king and his 
troops in a place called Tabarestaan. As a condition of peace between the two 
leaders, It was decided that Iranians would send a lone archer and with his 
arrow, wherever it landed, the new borders between the two neighboring 
countries would be determined. This was a condition imposed on Iran, by 
Afraaseeyaab. He knew that an arrow would have a limited range and thus, 
more land would be brought under Tooraani control. Iranians had no choice 
but to oblige. Aarash stepped in and accepted the challenge. He knew that 
he would be giving his life for this cause. He took his shirt off in front 
of full view of the troops to show that he was healthy and pure and that he 
didn't have any hidden magics. He prayed in the early dawn towards the rising 
sun and asked The Guardian Bahraam for his support. Bahraam is the god of 
Warriors. It is the same as the planet Mars that we find in the western 
culture. Then he picked up his bow and arrow and marched off to the top of 
Damaavand Mountain. There he stood alone, facing east and he was ready to 
fulfill his destiny. He put his entire life and soul into that arrow and 
released it with all his might. His arrow was carried by the wind under the 
protection of Guardian Bahraam. This arrow flew for several days and nights 
where it finally came to rest on a side of the tallest and biggest walnut 
tree around. The new border was on the other side of the Jayhoon river which 
meant the Iranian territory was not compromised and Afraaseeyaab had failed 
to achieve his aim. Finally peace was restored to the region and the two 
neighbors came to live in peace again. 

Jashn-e Teergaan gives people another opportunity to be thankful for 
peace, and appreciate life. Teergaan is about myths that give meanings to 
life and the struggle between the forces of good and evil. It is about 
remembering that all human societies need life, liberty and pursuit of 

To listen to the Jashn-e Teergaan song, you can visit my web site at 
http://www.khodi.com. You can also visit http://www.newpersia.com and click 
on the word, "Khodi" to listen to the entire Songs of Persian, Ancient 
Whispers CD.