Marriage Ceremony – As performed in Iran for Zarthushti couples

 
“Educate and be informed, then
Reform upon clear Reflection and
make a Choice to Transform.”
[Yasna 30.2]
 
SHARING WITH IMMENSE PRIDE
ONE OF OUR FABULOUS Z-CUSTOMS
 FROM: MEHER AMALSAD 
WESTMINSTER, CALIFORNIA, USA
My Dear Zarathushti Sisters and Brothers:
Respected Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary, Tehran, Iran ;
Dr. Ardeshir Behi, Vancouver, Canada;  and I
have TEAMED-UP TOGETHER
to embark on a very special communal service
for our Global Zarathushti and Non-Zarathushti community.
Together we have tried to encapsulate the essence of:
Andarze Gavah Giri, as the Wedding Ceremony of Iranian Zartoshtis is called, literally means Counseling during the Witness Collecting Ceremony.
In essence an Iranian couple undergo the Wedlock by taking not only the Almighty God, the Fravashi (Soul) of our Prophet Zarathushtra and all the Yazatas who supervise over Fidelity, Love and Promise keeping; but consider each and every one present in that ceremony as a witness to their mutual promise of staying Loving and Faithful to each other Until Death Do Them Apart. 
Please note that OUR collective purpose is to:
1. Enlighten OUR present and future generation 
   with topics related to our ancient oral and written 
   Zarathushti customs and traditions in our Mother Land, Iran .
 
2. Update this article with Q&A from people from our Global community.
For instance, you may want to know why the bride
provides her consent after the third repetitious asking,
but the groom provides his consent promptly after the first asking.
Please send your Q&A to Dr. Ardeshir Behi  at ardeshirbehi@yahoo.com;
Dr. Behi will coordinate this endeavor with me and our Respected Mobed Firouzgary.
We intend to publish an updated version with your Q&As on March 21, 2014.
It is our Hope that you will benefit from this special endeavor
with the same spirit in which it is shared.
And as you do, please pay close attention to the significance of
THE SCISSOR as well as
THE NEEDLE & THE THREAD analogy.
With Love, Light, Appreciation and Gratitude from
Meher Amalsad
 
 
 
“Andarze Gavah Giri”
Marriage Ceremony
As performed in Iran  for Zarthushti couples
Translated by: Respected Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary, Tehran , Iran
Coordinated by: Dr. Ardeshir Behi, Vancouver , Canada
Edited by: Meher Amalsad, Westminster , California , USA
 
A Priest facing the couple, to be wed, along with their parents on their sides starts the ceremony as follows:
On the auspicious day of ______, at this auspicious ceremony, the members of the community have gathered here today to witness this very special wedlock that will be performed according to the rites of the Zoroastrian Religion.
(It is important to note that the family and friends invited today commit themselves to remind the couple in case of disputes that they have been a witness to their Pledge for being united in Body, Mind and Spirit until death to them apart.)
I Mobed ______  take the Righteous Ahura Mazda, the victorious divine entities known as Amesha Spentas, the Glorious Guardian Angels of Truth, Justice, Protection and Fidelity known as Yazatas,  the Pious and Exalted Soul known as the Fravahar of Asho Zarathushtra Spitaman; and each and every one present in this gathering, as a collective witness to ask you (Name of bride) daughter of ______ (Mother) and ______ (Father) whether you are fully prepared and wholeheartedly agree to choose______ son of ______ (Mother) and ______ (Father) to be your life partner, in body and soul and as per the rules of the Good Religion of Mazdyasni?
(The bride, normally, says Yes after the third repetition of the above question).
Then facing the groom the priest puts a similar question upon which he gives his consent soon upon the first asking. Facing the couple the priest continues…
Congratulations for such an auspicious and happy occasion. All those present here today please join me in praying to Ahura Mazda to bestow upon this divine union, in marriage, durability and steadfastness, love, happiness and success, with several good children and wealth earned through righteous means as well as a happy ending after a long and fruitful life together. Amen.
And now, after invoking the Blessings of Ahura Mazda and once again wishing you newly weds the very best, I will pass on to you this special religious advice, which I trust you will remember and follow throughout your life so that you both can mutually benefit from them:
First and foremost, be grateful to Ahura Mazda for providing you with all His blessings and the best advantages over His vast creation, mainly the powers of speech and intelligence. Always keep in mind that He is the Supreme Lord and make sure to pray to Him as per the rules of our Good Religion.
Remain steadfast to the Good Religion of Mazdayasni and to its Prophet Asho Zarathushtra.
At all times follow the path of Asha (Righteousness) and abide by the principles of Good Thoughts Good Words and Good Deeds.
Do not take a single step without wearing the Sadreh and Kushty and make sure to adorn your children with the sacred Sadreh and Kushty when they grow to an age of self realization.
Remember to observe and carry out all the necessary Religious ceremonies for your dead relatives. Make sure to arrange for the best possible facilities and requirements of Myazd and Prayers etc., within your means, especially during the Gahanbars and the Farvardingan prayer days. That way you will have earned the Blessings of the All the departed Souls too.
Always be grateful and respectful to your parents and your teachers. Remember that satisfaction of them will invoke the pleasure of Ahura Mazda.
Always remember God and be benevolent. Choose one particular day of our month to allow more time in prayers and give more than usual in charities.
Please choose that day and announce it now.
(Here the bride and groom enter into a short gesture of consultation and the groom announces the chosen day)
Also choose a wise counselor whom you can consult in making proper decisions to be able to achieve greater success in your life.
Please announce your chosen counsel now. 
(Both the bride and bridegroom announce their choice of counselor to whom each may approach for consultations in times of difficulties)
The almighty Ahura Mazda, who has bestowed human beings with the powers of speech and intelligence calls for kindness towards humanity. Do not harm anyone in any way through your thoughts, words or deeds. Give food and shelter to strangers, and relieve sufferers from hunger, thirst, cold and heat.
Be kind to your subordinates and respect your seniors.
In general, follow the path of Amesha Spentas who represent the core attributes of Ahura Mazda.
The path of Vohu Mana Amesha Spenta calls for the practice of good thoughts and peace making. Do not be revengeful or quarrelsome. Be benevolent and of a good disposition. Avoid doing bad deeds and stay away from people who do bad things. Gather knowledge and practice wisdom. Spread goodness. Honor your family. Be just to your enemies. Be nice to your friends. Be kind to animals.
The path of Ardibehesht Amesha Spenta calls for truth and virtue. Be clean in body, mind and spirit. Have a clear conscience. Avoid lie and filth. Praise the path of Asha (Righteousness) and tread in that Path, for it is the most beneficent Path. Let your thoughts, words and deeds be good at all times. Always be truthful and honest with each other and avoid lies, deception and perjury. The light emitting fire, that represents love and loyalty, should always be revered and never be polluted.
The path of Shahrevar Amesha Spenta calls for acquiring self esteem and strength of character. Do your best to acquire wealth and fame but derive your income from honorable sources. Avoid a life of mere leisure and idleness. Do not envy the wealth of others. Help the under privileged by reaching out to them.
The path of Spentarmazd Amesha Spenta calls for humility and kindness. Be humble and noble, in this world. Be broadminded and friendly, to each other and to others. Don’t be proud or selfish. Remain chaste in your deeds and in your outlook. Never consider your poorer friends and relatives as inferior to yourself and always try to help them during their time of need.
The path of Khordad Amesha Spenta calls for acquiring prosperity and perfection. Live your life with the attitude of gratitude. Maintain a happy heart with a clean disposition. Do not grumble or be ungrateful with what you have in life. Never feel depressed. Be optimistic and content with what you have while pursuing for what you want. Contribute towards building places of public benefit. Spread happiness. Don’t waste or pollute water and keep all of our natural resources clean for the benefit of humanity.
The path of Amordad Amesha Spenta calls for extending longevity by acquiring good health. Make sure to practice all that is recommended for the maintenance of good health, physically, mentally and spiritually. Keep your clothes and abode clean. Stay away from filth. Give medical care to the needy and help nurse the sick.  Spread agriculture and plantation. Do not cut young trees or pick unripe fruits.
I, now, sincerely pray that you will follow all of these advices carefully and try to outdo each other in fidelity and kindness through your actions so that you both are ensured a life of happiness in the spirit of togetherness.
Here the couple is asked to join in for praying a portion of the Patet Pashemani followed by 2 Yatha Ahoo and a portion of Sraosh Vaaj Prayers.
The bride and the bridegroom are asked once again to confirm their choice and acceptance of each other, as before, but this time stressing on the words “Of your own free will” and they have to respond after the first asking.
The Priest then continues to pray the selected Prayers consisting of specific portions of Hormazd Yasht and the Yasna, followed by Tandorosty, and after its completion, continues with the following:
While declaring you, formally, as husband and wife; I, once again, congratulate you and your families on both sides of this auspicious union. While reiterating that you both follow the Religious recommendations already advised and to do all you can to be a good Zartoshti, I would now like to share the philosophy and significance of some of the items that are customarily placed on this ceremonial platform, hoping that it will help you to learn and benefit from these as well.
One of these is a pair of scissors which, is formed by the union of two blades and, will cut, effectively, only if the two blades move in unison. Likewise, today you two are also joined in wedlock together, symbolically representing the blades of this pair of scissors. In order to cut successfully through the problems and objectives of your life make sure that all your actions and planning are in unison.
“The Needle and Thread” kept here are normally tools for darning. As during the course of any married life certain occasions may arise, generally due to misunderstandings or other related problems, that a slight “Cut” may appear in your relations.
Immediately, in such cases, make good use of the philosophical “Needle and Thread” which is simply looking at the problem logically and with modesty and forgiveness, making use of your mutual love and affection and any other conceivable remedy to make sure to “Darn” the cut and cover it up so well such that the cut disappears and never deepens.
The EGG: Understanding that an egg nurtures the embryo, within itself, and prepares it for the life outside its shell, it is symbolically considered as signifying the rights of parents over their children. By giving away this egg after this ceremony the parents make it understood, between them, that from this day onward, they have given their children with a view that they can formulate an independent and a self established life. As from today, among these three families nothing beyond mutual love, respect, advice and consultation should be expected.
The Prayer book and Kushti is to remind you of your pledge to the Good Religion of Mazdyasni and adherence to the practice of good thoughts, good words and good deeds.
The green wrapped sugar cone represents long life and sweet happiness.
I pray that you enjoy the blessing of both.
Pomegranate signifies riches and childbearing.
I pray that Ahura Mazda bestow you with honestly earned riches and several well behaved children. Amen.

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