Maidyarem

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Maidyarem (Maidhyairya; Mid-Year or Winter Feast)

December-January, May, June; 16th-20th days of Dae, the 10th Zoroastrian month
Maidyarem is the fifth of the six great seasonal feasts, known as gahambars, of the Zoroastrian religion. It was traditionally celebrated at a point in the agricultural year when, due to extreme cold, all work came to a halt. The name comes from the word airya, which means "rest."
The six gahambars were typically joyous festivals that included such activities as special rituals and prayers, and the sharing of food. Although they lasted five days, the fifth day was the only one spent in actual celebration; the other four were for preparation and anticipation of the day's feasting, when families or neighborhoods would get together. These seasonal feasts were designed to give those who worked from dawn to dusk on farms a respite from their labors. Today, with so many Zoroastrians living in urban areas, the importance of the gahambars has diminished.
The Zoroastrian calendar has 12 months of 30 days each, plus five extra days at the end of the year. Because of discrepancies in the calendars used by widely separated Zoroastrian communities around the world, there are now three different calendars in use, and Maidyarem can fall either in December-January, May, or June according to the Gregorian calendar.
There are only about 100,000 followers of Zoroastrianism today, and most of them live in northwestern India or Iran. Smaller communities exist in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Canada, the U.S., England, and Australia.
SOURCES:
RelHolCal-2004, p. 69
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