Faresta Ceremony At Inauguration Of Daremeher In S.California
The new Daremeher facility recently purchased by the Zoroastrian Association of California (ZAC) in Southern California, was inaugurated with a 2-hour Faresta prayer ceremony on Sunday, July 18, 2010.
Several hundred Zarathushtis attended the inauguration. Volunteers prepared the food which was served after the prayer ceremony.
Those who attended the inauguration of the ZAC Hall, in the city of Orange, and were present during the special Jashan ceremony, known as Faresta, from 10 am to 12 pm, appreciated the prayer ritual performed by eight priests led by Ervad Zarrir Bhandara, in honor and praise of Ahuramazda and 32 other Yazatas (spiritual beings worthy of praise and veneration).
Ervad Shams-ul-Ulama Dr. Sir Jivanji Jamshedji Modi (October 26, 1854 -March 3, 1933) in his book “The Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Parsees”, mentions about the Faresta ceremony as follows:
“Faresta is Persian Firasta or Firashta, lit. one who is sent, meaning a messenger, and then an angel. Faresta or more correctly Firasta is the later name of the Avesta word Yazata.
Faresta is the name given to a ceremony wherein all the angels (Firastas), or more properly, all the Yazatas are invoked. There are a large number of Yazatas, but 33 are specialized. Of these thirty-three, thirty are those
that preside over the 30 days of the month and three are extra. The Faresta ceremony consists in reciting 33 Afringans and 33 Bajs with their proper ritual in honour of, and with the Khshnuman of, thee 33 Yazatas or
The Faresta ceremony is performed on many occasions, like marriage, birthday, Naojote, the occupation of a newly-built house, the fulfilment of a long cherished object…….”
Proposal, Priests, Organization, Training, Practice
Originally, Zerkxis Bhandara expressed his proposal at the ZAC General Body meeting, to perform a Faresta ceremony for inauguration.
The 8 priests who performed the Faresta, were (Fali Kanga, Zarrir and Zerkxis Bhandara, Jehangir and Yazad Dastur, Farhad and Darius Bhadha, and Maneck Bhujwala, who volunteered their services without expecting or receiving any Ashodad.
Zarrir organized the priests into four pairs, each pair having the officiating priest (Zoti) and the assistant priest (Raspi). Each pair was then assigned to recite prayers for 8 different Yazatas and all pairs were assigned to recite common prayers for Sarosh Yazata at the end. In this way, simultaneous recitation of prayers for different Yazatas was accomplished.
Jehangir, Yazad, Farhad, Darius and I are grateful to Zarrir for spending considerable time and effort (including driving several hundred miles for practice sessions) in organizing, preparing ceremonial items, and training
us in performance of the Faresta, and to Zerkxis for supporting Zarrir with preparations.
Zarrir has previously trained 4 young boys to prepare them for their Navar procedure, and he is currently training Xerxis Bhadha. He continues to train all of them in priestly duties including service to community and society.
Co-Founder, Zoroastrian Association of California