The ancient Zoroastrian Mid-Spring festival, Celtic Beltane and the German Witches’ Night Hexennacht,

April 30th marks the beginning of the maiδyö.zarem  “mid-spring” festival in the Avestan calendar. The mid-spring festival lasts for 5 days till May4th, and is in essence a spring rite, thought to fire up/stir “virility, youthfulness, growth, and nectars of the spring.” Maiδyö.zarem is an “in between festival” maiδyö, “mid/in between” the spring and summer solstices.

Mid-Spring is a sacred time to honor the plants, their sap/milk, and a time to bless the herds, their young, and their milk by walking them between sacred bonfires. Sacred rituals are performed to protect the cattle, crops and encourage their sap/milk, and their growth.

 In the Avestan book of vispa ratü “all the rites/right formulas,” maiδyö.zarem is described as the festival of payan “milk, syrup, nectar of flowers and sap of trees, life-force.”

Avestan payan “milk” is a cognate of with Lithuanian pienas, Latvian piêns, Vedic páyas “milk,” Vedic pipyúši “rich in milk” and is derived from reconstructed Proto Indo European *pieh “be fat, prosperous, swollen,” and *pipih usih “rich, overflowing in milk.”

Offerings of milk mixed with holy water, are made to holy wells. Cattle are decorated with flowers. Milk is also poured at the doorsteps. Mid-Spring is an especially auspicious time to bless the dairy products, and the sap of trees.

Maiδyö.zarem celebrates the triumph of spring/sun energy over winter and frost. The saps of spring are honored in connection with the waxing power of the sun wheel. Household fires are re-lit from the sacred bonfires, and village fire temples. Cattle and everywhere is decorated with flowers.

 Zarem, the second part of maiδyö.zarem comes from Avestan zairi “fresh green, lush or golden” and can be compared with Old Church Slavonic zelenū, Lithuanian geltasželvas “yellow/golden,” Latvian zęlts “golden,” Russian zelënyj “green.” In post Indo European times, the word for golden/yellow were often the sources for new words for green. This root is recorded from Celtic to Vedic, and is assured in Proto- Indo European. This also argues that the Proto Indo Europeans saw yellow/golden as a primary color.

The primary color yellow evokes fire, and golden is the color of the sun, symbolizing, “passion, pure energy, charming magnetism, powers of fertility, virility and the life-force.

The ancient Avestan maiδyö.zarem “mid-spring” festival shares many common rites with, and the same roots as the Celtic Beltane, and the German Hexennacht “Witches’ Night.” Hexennacht is the night from 30 April to 1 May, when witches are reputed to hold a large celebration on the Brocken (the highest of the Harz Mountains of north central Germany,) to mark the triumph of spring/the sun over winter. The holiday was later replaced by the feast day for a Catholic Saint as Walpurgisnacht.

In Zoroastrianism, the spiritual life and sacred worship are entwined with hearth-fire, kinship and Clan, home, happiness, pets and farm, fertility of the land, and magical rites/seasons of the year (Avestan yaar ratö.); all related in a sacred world order wherein mortal man lives as a member of his genos, and is governed by the laws of renewal, waxing power of the sun wheel, youthfulness, virility, beauty, nobility, much happiness, and reverence for nature.


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1 Response to The ancient Zoroastrian Mid-Spring festival, Celtic Beltane and the German Witches’ Night Hexennacht,

  1. Pingback: The ancient Zoroastrian Mid-Spring festival, Celtic Beltane and the German Witches’ Night Hexennacht, | Authentic Gatha Zoroastrianism | Cyrus49's Blog

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