Cafe Nadery celebrates ‘Jashn-e Mehregan'; an ancient Iranian Autumn Festival. Different stories are told about ‘Jashn-e Mehregan’. Here is one story, as told by an Iranian-American patron of the ‘Cafe Nadery’ who loves these traditions, deeply; Shadi Towfighi.
Some say ‘Jashn-e Mehregan’ originated in Zoroaster’s time, some say it came about during Babylonian times. I tend to believe it is one of the most ancient festivities not only in the region but also in the world. Archeologists have unearthed evidence of early agriculture at a 12,000 year old site in the Zagros Mountains in Iran. At this site, ancient mortars and grinding tools were discovered showing people were grinding wheat and barley in Iran about 11,000 years ago. Autumn being the season of harvest, gave a reason for the farmers to celebrate. Mehr is the name of the first month of Autumn meaning kindness, promise, contract and relationship between two or more people both in Sanskrit and Avestan languages. In modern Persian, Mehr also means love, friendship, reconciliation and promise. The tales of festivities go back to the beginning of farming when pagans started celebrating nature and thanking nature for such a great giving. As city life came about this festival was given the name ‘Mehregan’.
The celebration (documented in Avesta, the Book of the ancient Iranian religion Zoroastrianism) lasted six days, starting on the 16th day of the seventh month, at the time of harvest and beginning of winter. The first day was called ‘Mehregan-e Khord’ and the last day, ‘Mehregan-e Bozorg’. ‘Mehregan-e Khord’ means small Mehregan, ‘Mehregan-e Bozorg’ means big Mehregan. On ‘Mehregan-e Khord’ farmers started carrying out their harvest thanking nature for giving them such an abundant harvest. If they didn’t have a good harvest then they prayed for a better one for the coming years. The celebration and prayers lasted for 16 days till Mehregan-e Bozorg’ being the last day.
It is customary to set a colorful and decorative table for celebrating Mehregan which nowadays can include a copy of Avesta, a mirror (sign of reflection) – Sormeh dan (an antimony container) – rosewater, sweets, flowers, nuts – pistachio, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, all found abundantly in the region, fruits specially pomegranates and apples for both originate from the region and a few silver coins. In the evening, bonfires were lit and songs were chanted for the harvest then followed by a lavish dinner.
To celebrate this ancient Iranian tradition we invite you to attend ‘Mehregan with Mitra Sumara’ at Cafe Nadery, on Saturday, October 25th, 2014 from 3:00 p.m to 9 p.m (EDT)
Please find tickets by clicking on the link below