Tirgan Festival; Water Festival in Iran from Ancient Time

July 19

Many countries around the globe held water festival on a specific day once a year.

Tirgan is actually an ancient Persian summer festival which traditionally held on 13th of Tir (2, 3 or 4th of July). It is named Tirgan since the festival held in the 4th month of the Persian calendar named Tir. Here, we are going to briefly introduce the Tirgan Festival.

Traditions of Tirgan Festival

The festival is still celebrated in different regions of Iran, including Mazanderan, Kerman and Yazd Provinces. The city of Farahan, near Arak in Markazi Province, is also the major center for celebrating Tirgan Festival.

Splashing water, dancing, singing the songs and wishing for ample rainfall are the main activities of Tirgan Festival. Serving traditional foods such as spinach soup and sholezard are also very common among people. This ceremony is also known as “Abrizan” or “Abpashan” means splashing water.

Zoroastrians tie a rainbow-colored ribbon around their wrists for ten consecutive days and toss the ribbons into a stream on the day of the festival. In some families, they send trays of foods and cloths to their newlyweds.

The History of Tirgan Festival

The history of Tirgan dates back to the pre-Zoroastrian era, however, Zoroastrians continue celebrating this festival. It was a ritual to celebrate Tishter, the goddess of the rain.

In the Zoroastrian religion all the months, days of the weeks and month have a name. Whenever a month and a day with the same names coincided, people would celebrate that day. It is also true for the Tirgan Festival as it is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the month which both months and day are known as Tir.

Legends of Tirgan Festival

There are different legends about the origin of Tirgan Festival. One legend describes ancient Iranian myths in which a hero of Persian mythology called Arash the Archer settled a dispute between Iran and Turan by shooting an arrow that the landing location determined the boundary between two countries. In a war between two countries of Iran and Turan, Iran proposed for making peace, Turan agreed but in the condition that someone from Iran army should specify the border of two countries by firing an arrow, and where the arrow landed would lie the border between two kingdoms. The land falls within the range of the bow-shot shall be returned to Iran and the rest should fall to Turan. Arash was asked to be the archer for specifying the border of these two countries. A goddess suggested Arash a special bow and arrow and told the arrow could go really far, but the person who shoots will die after that. Arash accepted since he was ready to die for his country, Iran. Arash then fired that arrow wholeheartedly from the top of Mount Damavand to east, the arrow landed a far spot near to the town of “Balkh” and Arash passed away. Tirgan Festival has been held in remembrance of this great hero, Arash the Archer.

In eighth Yasht of Avesta which is called “Tishtrya yasht”, the god of rain, introduces Arash as the best Iranian shooter whom Ohrmuzd gives him strange power and Amesha Spenta helps him. In this Yasht, Tishtrya is chosen to help Arash’s arrow and calls Arash as “Šewātīr” which means the best archer.

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