A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Jashn-e Mehregan (Mihr Jashan, مهرگان, Jašn-e Mehr, جشن مهر., Mithra Festival). Annual Zoroastrian Autumn festival with origins lost in antiquity, like NoRuz (New Year). Mehregan is dedicated to the divinity Mithra (Meher), the greatest of the Yazats (angels) and an angel of light associated with the sun but distinct from it, and with legal contracts. The ripening of the crops and fruits at this time of year is seen as symbolic of the ripening of the world into fullness, before the moment of the ultimate victory over evil. It evokes the physical resurrection of the body along with its immortal soul, as promised by the Lord, Ahura Mazda. It is customary at this time to visit the Fire Temple to offer thanks to the Creator God, to participate in a jashan (thanksgiving ceremony), to listen to stories of King Faridoon’s triumphant capture of the evil Zohak, and to share in a special community meal. For this celebration, the participants wear new clothes and prepare a decorative, colourful table. The sides of the tablecloth are festooned with dry wild marjoram. On the table are placed a copy of the Khordeh Avesta (little Avesta collections of Zoroastrian religious texts), a mirror and sormeh-dan (traditional eyeliner, kohl), together with rosewater, sweets, flowers, vegetables, fruits (pomegranates and apples), and nuts such as almonds or pistachios. A few silver coins and lotus seeds are set in a dish of water, scented with extract of marjoram. A burner is also part of the table setting, ready for frankincense and seeds of Syrian rue folk medicine to be thrown into the flames. At lunchtime, when the ceremony begins, all the family stands in front of the mirror to pray. Sherbet is drunk and then, as a good omen, kohl is applied around the eyes. Handfuls of wild marjoram and lotus and sugar plum seeds are thrown over one another’s heads whilst embracing. The meal concludes with an appropriate drink, dancing and merrymaking. In the angelology of Jewish mysticism, due to the Zoroastrian influence Mithra appears as Metatron, the highest of the angels. He appeared as Mithras, god of the Mithraism popular among the Roman military and is also mentioned in Manichaeism and in Buddhist texts. Mehregan, Tiragan and NoRuz were the only Zoroastrian feasts to be mentioned in the Talmud, which is an indication of their and Mithras’ popularity. Image: events.kodoom.com.
Fête de Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux (Feast of St Therese of Lisieux OCD, Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, The Little Flower, Santa Teresita del Niño Jesús) (1873-97). Roman Catholic Feast Day for the much-loved saint, a daughter of devout Catholics who were not permitted to enter consecrated life but became the first, and to date only, married couple canonised together by the Roman Catholic Church. St Therese was a Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun, virgin and Doctor of the Church who wanted to go to the missions but remained within the cloister to become the patron of missionaries. She entered the convent at 15 and at 24 died from tuberculosis on 30 September 1897 in Lisieux, Calvados, having lived a full life serving her community as Novice Director. Venerated in Catholic Church. Major shrines: Basilica of Sainte Thérèse, Lisieux, the second most popular place of pilgrimage in France after Lourdes; National Shrine of St Thérèse, Darien, Illinois; St Theresa’s School, Morigaon, Assam; National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Royal Oak, Michigan; Shrine of St Therese, Doctor of the Church, Pasay, Metro Manila, The Philippines. Feast Day 3 October Melkite calendar. Patron of missionaries, France, Russia, HIV/AIDS sufferers, florists and gardeners, tuberculosis, the Russicum Pontifical Russian College in Rome, orphans, homeless peoples, stateless peoples, Australia, Alaska, Pasay, The Philippines, Fresno, Witbank, South Africa, Kisumu, Kenya, Pueblo, Colorado, Gardens of the Vatican City, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Image: www.amormisericordioso.org.
Black History Month. To 31 October, a month of events celebrating the history, achievements and contributions of great black people in the UK. Avon and Somerset Police are participating and are committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion of those: from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities; people of all ages, abilities, neurodiversity, faiths, religions, gender and sexuality; and those from other disadvantaged backgrounds or marginalised backgrounds. Victims of racist and religious incidents may seek support from the Bangladesh Association (Bristol, Bath and West), the Bristol and Avon Chinese Women’s Group, the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society, the Muslim Youth Helpline, Stand Against Racism and Inequality (SARI) and TellMAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks). Image: news.furman.edu.