Maiδyö.zarem; Zoroastrian Mid-Spring/May Day Holiday

April 30th is the start of Maiδyö.zarem; mid-spring or literally mid green season.  Avestan zarem means “fresh green color, verdure.” Compare with Lithuanian zalias “green,” Old.Church.Slavic. zelenu, Polish. zielony, Russian. zelenyj “green.”

Maiδyö.zarem marks the first “gāhān-bār.” Gāhān-bārs are seasonal thanksgiving festivals and the first of these thanksgiving feasts is Maiδyö.zarem.  All but necessary festive work is forbidden. Maiδyö.zarem starts on April 30th and lasts 5 days, ending on May 4th.

The word “gāhān-bār” is Middle Persian. Gāhān refers to gāthās or the poetic songs of the prophet; Compare with Lithuanian. giedoti “to sing”. For during these thanksgiving days; Gāthās or the sacred verses of the Avesta are chanted. “Bār” means produce, fruit, what the earth BEARS forth.

According to Avestan passages this is the festival of “flower extracts, saps, nectars and syrups.” Maiδyö.zarem celebrates springtime fertility with community gatherings and much joyous festivity.  This holiday has much in common with ancient pre-Christian Roman festival of Flora, the Germanic Walpurgis Night celebrations and Gaelic Beltane.


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