By Ervad Marzban Hathiram
The Bareshnum is the highest purificatory ceremony of the Zoroastrian religion. It is sometimes also referred to as the Bareshnum-i-noh-shab – ‘the Bareshnum of nine nights’ since that is the period of time it takes for the entire process to complete. The word Bareshnum is derived from the Avesta root ‘bareshnu’ meaning ‘top, head’, since the process of cleansing starts from the head and moves down the body. Till about a hundred years ago, the Bareshnum ceremony was undergone by both Behdins (including women) as well as priests, but today it is confined solely to the priestly class. In fact, the process of becoming a complete priest consists of passing through two Bareshnums for the Navar ceremony, and one Bareshnum for the Maratab ceremony.
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Courtesy : Hushang Vakil