ĀBRĪZAGĀN “the pouring of water,” name for a Zoroastrian feast; the term could be used for Tīragān (q.v.) and probably also for the name-day festival of Hordād, both of which were celebrated by people sprinkling one another joyfully with water (see Bīrūnī, Chronology, pp. 218, 221). More specifically it was, according to Bīrūnī (p. 228), the name of a feast instituted in Sasanian times to commemorate the end of a devastating drought which afflicted Iran for successive years during the reign of Pērōz (A.D. 459-84). At last, tradition recorded, the king visited the shrine of Ādur-Farnbāg to pray for relief for the country’s sufferings; and as he rode away, torrential rain descended on Pārs, heavier than anyone could remember. Gradually this lifegiving rain spread to all Iran, and thereafter each region held an annual feast in thanksgiving on the day when the drought had broken there. Bīrūnī records the date on which Ābrīzagān was kept in Isfahan, namely Rūz Anērān of Māh Bahman. This shows how wonderful indeed was the happening which is commemorated, for in Pērōz’ reign Bahman was a summer month, corresponding to May in the Gregorian calendar.

Bibliography: Given in the text.

(M. Boyce)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 19, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 3, p. 247

Cite this entry:

Mary Boyce, “ĀBRĪZAGĀN,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, 1982, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abrizagan