Ayáthrimá, the last autumnal thanksgiving festival and Celtic Samhain
The last autumnal Zoroastrian thanksgiving festival lasting from Oct 12th to Oct 16th is known as Ayáthrimá. The meaning of the word Ayáthrimá is not entirely clear. It is believed to refer to the time of prosperity and nourishment ( thrimá comes from thrâ, meaning “to thrive”), which may also be why it is identified with the …breeding season for cattle.
It is the the fourth thanksgiving festival and is thought to celebrate bringing herds to shelter before winter sets in. This is the fourth of the six great celebrations known as gatha-bars, gahan-bars or gahambars in the Zoroastrian dialect, a time for singing, music, and throwing thanksgiving banquets; compare gatha with Lithuanian. giedoti “to sing.”
Ayáthrimá is the Midpoint between Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice. It is also the beginning of the dim half of the year, and marks the last day of rapithwin or “high noon.” Accordingly, from October 16th, midday light and warmth grows dim and winter sets in. Ayáthrimá is a time when the autumn harvest is reaped, cattle are bred, and the preparation for winter begins. This festival has a lot in common with the Celtic festival of Samhain on October 30th. In fact, almost all Zoroastrian and Celtic festivals are apart by about 2 weeks and bear striking resemblance.
Incense associated with Ayáthrimá: sage and mint.
Colors associated with Ayáthrimá: red, yellow, orange.
Decorations associated with Ayáthrimá: pomegranates, autumn leaves and flowers,
Foods associated with Ayáthrimá: pomegranates, apples, cider, nuts, wine, autumn fruits and tea.