The Magic of Mehregaan
by: Khodadad kaviani

Visit to listen to the Mehregaan song and learn more 
about the culture of ancient Iran.

Thank you dear Khodi,  you are so good


"Oh Sepantamaan! (1) Lest you break your promises! It doesn' t matter if it is with a God Worshipper or an Evil Worshipper. A promise is a promise and it must be honored and fulfilled." Thus spoke Ahuraa Mazdaa (2) with Zoroaster,(3) in Mehr Yasht. (4)

Truth and valor are among the values honored by our pre-Zoroastrian ancestors that later became the origin and the ultimate standards for heroism and bravery. It is said that Mehr has 1,000 ears and 10,000 eyes. The powerful Mehr stays alert and never sleeps. Nothing can be kept hidden from Mehr.
(5) Mehr is worthy of worship and is a favorite of the warriors. Those who are deceitful and lie, are the enemies of Mehr and in battle, their arrows would be ineffective. Their horses won' t advance and won' t obey their riders. Ultimately, they are defeated and victory is with those who support Mehr with their good thoughts and brave deeds. There are other distinct accounts for why Mehregaan is such an important festival. 

Mehr is the seventh month in the Iranian calendar. It marks the start of "The Great Winter" and is the name of the Guardian of Friendship, Love, and Promise. It was in such a day that the sun appeared in the sky. Mehr is the god/Guardian of light and illumination. It appears before the sunrise and lasts after the sunset. Thus the distinction is made between Mehr and the sun. However over time, people began to use these terms synonymously. It is believed that sun was created during Mehregaan. 

Mehregaan signals the beginning of Autumn Festival in October 2nd, which is the Day of Mehr and continues for six consecutive days. The first five days are public celebrations and the last day is reserved for a special family feast. The last day is Raam Day and it means tranquility and peace. Pansy is the flower and topaz is the color of Mehr. As you may know by now, each day of the month has its own name and when the name of the Month and the name of the Day were the same, a special festival was held. So it is with this tradition that in the month of Mehr and Day of Mehr, everyone took a break from work and wore their clean and happy-color clothes. People in their homes prepared special Mehregaan offerings similar to Haft-seen Tables that are prepared for Norooz. Kings put on their glowing-sun crowns and sat on their thrones. They met with people and gave gifts of clothing and gold to them and listened to their complaints and rendered justice. Later, everyone including the king, poured wine in their topaz color cups, and drank together, in honor of this auspicious day. According to Persian Mythology, this is what Fereidoon did in Mehregaan, after imprisoning the evil king, Zah-haak, in the Mountains of Damaavand. The full story of this significant revolt led by Kaaveh Aahangar, a blacksmith who lost all but one of his sons to the snakes that grew out of Zah-haak' s shoulders can be found in Shaahnaameh. King Fereidoon' s ascendance to power meant the return of justice and prosperity to Iran. Everyone celebrated and danced during this period and it came to be known as a day of rest and relaxation. Mehregaan was also a popular day to hold wedding ceremonies since it was all about love and keeping commitments. Children who are born in this month have names like, Mehraa, Mehri, Mehr-aaraa, Mehraan, Mehrabaan, Mehrzaad, Mehr-dokht, Mehr-baanoo, Mehr-yaar, Meetraa, and so forth. 

Mehregaan has a universal dimension to it as well. It is the time that earth was created and expanded. It rivals Norooz as the second most important Festival in Iran. By the first century A.D., People in Europe knew about Mehregaan and had built special temples to honor this god of love, friendship and commitments. Even the neighboring Arab countries observed the rituals and referred to it as "Mehr-e-jaan."

There is an interesting story about the first human being Keeyoumars (Geeya - Maretan) in the book of "Bondahesh" which is a part of Zoroastrian literature. "Geeya" means life and "Maretan" means mortal. Together they mean mortal beings or simply "people." Keeyoumars was the first human Ahuraa Mazdaa created and after 30 years of solitude in the mountains, he eventually died. Just before his death, his sperms were released from his loins and were purified by the rays of the sun and were buried under ground. An amazing thing happens in Mehregaan when after 40 years, from his sperms buried in the ground, two twisted stems of rhubarb grew and later transformed into two human beings that were similar to each other; one male (Masheeyeh) and the other a female (Masheeyaaneh). After passing of another fifty years, they got married and eventually their subsequent offsprings became the various races of people that we have today. It was in Mehregaan that God added soul to human body and thus, the Magic of Mehregaan became a gift of love and life to all human-kind. Merry Mehregaan to all!

End Notes:

1 Sepantamaan: Holy & Pure. Zoroaster' s 9th ancestor 
2 Ahuraa Mazdaa: The Great Life-giving, Wise One; (God)
3 Zoroaster: Bright and Shining Star, Name of the Iranian Prophet who lived 
some 3739 years ago.
4 Mehr yasht: After Farvardeen Yasht, it' s the second longest poem dedicated 
to Mehr.
5 Mehr: (Mitraa =Mitr)