The sweet smell of flowers, the beautiful aroma of sandalwood and “loban”, the well laid out tables with “karasiyaas” and vases and the soothing chant of the ancient prayers recited by our Dastoorji – these are all wonderful memories of the “Muktad” days, that my husband Jamshed remembers growing up in Ahmedabad.
Food cooked for Muktad prayers is kept on a table set aside with the Afargan. Items like Malido, Daran, Papri for chasni are prepared. After the prayers are done the food is partaken of with clean hands.
Photo Credit: Muktad table at the Zoroastrian Society of BC, Canada Darbe Mehr
On the first Gatha day: Ahunavaiti, August 15th, 2007. Note
that the vases have labels bearing the names of the souls being remembered.
Click this link to view additional photographs of the ceremony.
Today, I am married and live with my husband and children in the US. Living far away from our families, missing their warmth and our traditional Parsi holidays, we try to create a similar Parsi culture in our American home and inculcate the importance of Muktad and Gatha days into our children.
In India, in Jamshed’s house, his mother and father had a tradition of cleaning the house completely in preparation for the Muktads, which are followed by five days of Gathas, last day of the year – Pateti – being the day of reflection and repentance, and then celebrating Navroze. Offerings of flowers, fruits, daraan and malido were made during the Muktads. We follow the same tradition here also, lighting the divo, offering flowers and fruits in remembrance of the departed.
Back home, my in-laws and our kids while visiting India, went to the Agiary in the Muktad days and on the Parsi New Year Day. We were taught from an early age to pray during these pious days for our dear departed relatives.
For us, Muktad is a very special time to remember our loved ones, who have departed, cherish the ideals they pursued, emulate them in all the good they did and pray for their souls. Over time the pain of loosing them gives way to the joyful memories and we celebrate their lives.
Rita Jamshed Kapadia is a Software Engineer and a Web Developer. One of her hobby site is this one – ParsiCuisine.com and publishing cookbooks. Rita was vice president of the Zoroastrian Association of Greater Boston Area and is the ZAGBA Website Administrator.