October 12th marks the beginning of the Ayáthrem thanksgiving festival. For the ancient Iranian Zoroastrians, Ayáthrem festival was an amazingly colorful spectacle that lasted for 5 days.
The Ayáthrem was celebrated when cattle that have been grazing all summer on pastures and meadows of high mountains were herded back to their warm cowsheds in the valleys, right before the winter snow arrived.
This was the ancient way of giving thanks for a good grazing season and robust healthy animals.
The summer spent by the cattle in the mountain meadows closed with ayáthrem. The ancient Aryan herders celebrated the return of their animals in good health in the autumnal festival of ayáthrem. The herds were adorned with wild mountain flowers, intricately embroidered head-dresses, mirrors and bells to ward off against the evil spirits.
Ancient charms from the poetic gathas of the Prophet were recited, a colorful banquet was prepared and the God of Genius, Mind-Power, and Creativity “Ma(n)zdá” was wholeheartedly thanked.
For we read in the Vársht-mánßar commentary of Yasna 29 of the poetic gathas that; the Mazdá worshipping religion of Zartösht is the creation of creatures, the best and the greatest in the world for the advancement, assistance and preservation of cattle and other good creations.
Mazd-yasná or Zoroastrianism is an animal loving religion. Happy ayáthrem to you all!