The feast of Tiregan is an ancient Iranian celebration, which is still celebrated among Iranian Zoroastrians, Parsis of India and some Iranian Muslims in various parts of Iran, including Mazandaran and Arak provinces. The celebration is widely attested by historians such as Abu Saʿīd Gardēzī, Biruni and Al-Masudi, as well as European travellers to Iran during the Safavid era. This event is celebrated on the 13th day of the month of Tir, (the 4th month of the Persian calendar) which equates to the 2nd or 3 July in the Gregorian Calendar. The celebration is experiencing a resurgence amongst Iranians. Today, some Iranians celebrate this occasion with dancing, singing, reciting poetry and serving spinach soup and sholeh zard. It has also been observed that during this celebration children and adults rejoice by swimming in streams and splashing water on each other. The custom of tying rainbow-colored bands on their wrists, which are worn for ten days and then thrown into a stream, is also a way to rejoice for children.
Theme of the Festival
This event is celebrated on the 13th day of the month of Tir, (the 4th month of the Persian calendar) which equates to the 2nd or 3 July in the Gregorian Calendar and refers to the archangel Tir (arrow) or Tishtar (lightning bolt) who appeared in the sky to generate thunder and lightning for much needed rain. Legend says that Arash Kamangir Amoli was a man chosen to settle a land dispute between the leaders of two lands, Iran and Turan. Arash was to loose his arrow on the 13th day of Tir and where the arrow landed, would lie the border between the two kingdoms. Turan - which had suffered from the lack of rain - and Iran rejoiced at the settlement of the borders, then rain poured onto the two countries and there was peace between them.
Celebrations in various regions of Iran
In Mazandaran, where Arash is supposed to have come from, and in Farahan people go to a river, play traditional music, and splash water on each other. Amongst Zoroastrians, it is a celebration of both religious value as well as a joyous occasion.
Description from historical sources
|“||On the 13th or Tir-Roz, there is a feast called Tiragan, so called on account of the identity of the name of the month and the day. Of the two causes to which it is traced back, one is this, that Afrasiab after having subdued Eranshahr, and while besieging Manuchehr in Tabaristan, asked him some favor. Manuchihr complied with his wish, on the condition that he (Afrasiyab) should restore him a part of Eranshahr as long as and as broad as an arrow shot. On that occasion, there was a genius present, called Isfandarmadh; he ordered to be brought a bow and an arrow of such a size, as he himself had indicated to the arrow-maker, in conformity with that which is manifest in the Avesta. Then he send for Arash, a noble, pious, and wise man, and ordered him to take the bow and to shoot the arrow. Arash stepped forward, took off his clothes, and said: "O king, and ye others, look at my body. I am free from any wound and disease. I know when I shoot this bow and arrow I shall fall to pieces and my life will be gone, but I have determined to sacrifice it for you." Then he applied himself to the work, and bent the bow with all the power God had given him; then he shot, and fell asunder into pieces. By order of God the wind bore the arrow away from the mountains of Ruyān and brought the utmost frontier of Khurasān between Farghāna and Tabaristan (Tokharistan?); there it hit the trunk of a nut-tree that was so large that there had never been a tree like it in the world. The distance between the place where the arrow was shot and that where it fell was 1,000 Farsakh. Afrasiyab and Manuchehr made a treaty on the basis of this shot that was shot on this day. In consequence people made it a feast-day.
During the siege Manuchehr and the people of Eranshahr had been suffering from want, not being able to grind the wheat and to bake the bread because the wheat was late in ripening; finally they took the wheat and the fruit, unripe as they were, ground them and ate them. Thence it became a rule for this day to cook wheat and fruits. According to another report, the arrow was shot on this day (i.e. Tir-Roz, and the festival of this day is the small Tiregān; on other hand the 14th or Gosh-Roz, is the great Tiregān, the day on which the news arrived that the arrow had fallen. On Tir-roz, people break their cooking-vessel and fire-grates, since on this day they were liberated from Afrasiyab and everybody was free to go to work.
The second cause of the feast Tiregān is the following: The Dahufadhiyya, which means "The office of guarding and watching over the world and reigning of it," and Dahqana which means "the office of cultivating the world, of sowing it, and of distributing it"--these two are twins on whom rest the civilization of the world, and its duration, and the setting right of anything that is wrong in it. The Kitāba (the office of writer) follows next to them and is connected with both of them.
The Dahufadhiyya was founded by Hushang, the Dahkhana by his brother Waikard. The name of this day is Tir or Mercury, who is the star of scribes. Now Hushang spoke in praise of his brother on the same day, and gave to him as his share the Dahqana, which is identical with the Kitāba. Therefore people made this day a feast in praise and honour of him (Waikard). On this day he (Hushang) ordered people to dress in the dress of the Scribes and Dihqans. Therefore the princes, Dihqans, Mobads, etc., continued to wear the dress of the Scribes until the time of Goshtasp, in praise and honour of both the Kitāba and Dahqana.
On the same day, the Persians used to wash themselves, of which is the reason is this -- that Kaykhusraw[disambiguation needed], on returning from the war against Afrasiyab, passed on this day through the territory of Saveh. He went up the mountain which overhangs the town, and sat down at the fountain quite alone at some distance from his encampment. There an angel appeared unto him, whereby he was so terrified that he swooned. About that time Bijan the son of Goudarz arrived, when the king had already recovered himself; so he sprinkled some of that water on his face, leaned him against a rock, and said "mayandish", i.e. do not be afraid. Thereupon the king (KayKhusraw) ordered a town to be built around that fountain, and called it Mandish, which afterwards was altered and transformed to "Andish". Ever since, it has been the custom of people to wash themselves in this water and in all fountain-waters, this being considered a good omen. The inhabitants of Amul go out to the Caspian sea, play in the water, have fun, and try to dip each other on this day the whole day long.
- Tirgan Festival
- C. Eduard Sachau (trans.), The Chronology of Ancient Nations: An English Version of the Arabic Text of the Athâr-ul-Bâkiya of Albîrûnî, or 'Vestiges of the Past', Collected and Reduced ... by the Author in A. H. 390 - 1, A. D. 1000 (1879). Google books link.
- Garzidi, Biruni, Masu'di.
-  (report on celebrations in Farahan)
-  another report on the celebrations in Arak province
-  celebrations in Mazandaran
- C. Eduard Sachau (trans.), The Chronology of Ancient Nations: An English Version of the Arabic Text of the Athâr-ul-Bâkiya of Albîrûnî, or 'Vestiges of the Past', Collected and Reduced ... by the Author in A. H. 390 - 1, A. D. 1000 (1879). Google books link . Note the book was translated in 1879 and copy right has expired. Quote taken from pages 205-206.
- Tārīkh-i Gardīzī / taʾlīf, Abū Saʻīd ʻAbd al-Ḥayy ibn Zahāk ibn Maḥmūd Gardīzī ; bih taṣḥīḥ va taḥshiyah va taʻlīq, ʻAbd al-Ḥayy Ḥabībī. Tihrān : Dunyā-yi Kitāb, 1363 [1984 or 1985]. excerpt from page 520.
- "The Chronology of Ancient Nations: An English Version of the Arabic Text of ... - Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Bīrūnī - Google Books". Books.google.com. Retrieved 2013-07-06.