Ayathrem (Ayathrima; Bringing Home the Herds)

February, March, October; 26th-30th day of Mihr, the seventh Zoroastrian month
This is the fourth of the six great seasonal feasts known as gahambars in the Zoroastrian religion. The gahambars traditionally provided the Zoroastrians, who were at one time a primarily agricultural people, with periodic respites from their labor and an opportunity to give thanks for their earthly blessings. Each of the six gahambars correlated with a phase of agricultural production—midsummer, bringing in the harvest, etc.—and honored one of the six things created by God: sky, water, earth, plants, animals, and humankind. The importance of the gahambars has diminished somewhat, now that so many Zoroastrians live in urban areas, but they are still observed in rural communities where farming rules the patterns of daily life.
The meaning of the word Ayathrem is not entirely clear. It is thought to refer to the time of prosperity and nourishment ( thrime comes from thrâ, meaning "to thrive"), which may also be why it is identified with the breeding season for cattle.
The gahambars were typically joyous festivals that included such activities as intricate rituals, specific prayers, and the sharing of food.
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 Ayathrem can fall either in October, March, or February.
RelHolCal-2004, p. 68
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.