ĀFRĪN “blessing,” benedictory prayers said at the conclusion of every Zoroastrian ceremony of blessings (āfrinagān). The purpose of these prayers is to invoke the blessings of the yazads (benign spirits), Amahraspands (seven Bounteous Immortals), and frōhars (guardian spirits) of the departed worthies of ancient Iran. The intended recipients of these blessings are the head of the family that has requested the ceremony and the departed soul in whose memory the ceremony is being performed. A characteristic āfrīn, in Pāzand, is as follows: nar ašō frazand zāyād ke Ērāndārād nām barād dušman zanād u dūd afrōzād u darūd, “May there be born (unto you) righteous male offspring who will perpetuate Iran, earn fame, smite enemies, and illumine (the name of) the family. Peace (be on you).”
There are, properly speaking, seven āfrīns: (1-3) The first three form one unit, as they invoke the blessings of ardāfrawaš (the holy guardian spirits), the buzurgān (the great ones or ancient heroes), and the seven Amahraspands (together with their co-workers, called hamkar or dahmān). These āfrīns are recited at the conclusion of the ceremonies of blessing performed on the anniversary days of the dead (rūzgār), at the conclusion of ǰašans (an “assembly of rejoicing” held when the day name and month name coincide), and ceremonies dedicated to the fereštas (righteous spirit beings). (4) The āfrīn of gāhānbār is invoked only during the six seasonal gāhānbār) festivals of the year, which commemorate the six acts of creation by Ohrmazd (sky, water, earth, plants, animals, and man). (5) The fifth āfrīn is the āfrīn of rapiθwin, recited only during the period of rapiθwin (12 noon to 3 P.M.) in the first seven months of the year, namely from the month Frawardīn up to Mihr. (6) The āfrīn of myazd is recited on the five special days of each month when myazd is held, i.e., the days of Mihr, Rašn, Wahrām, Arštād, and Anagrān. Myazd refers to a form of congregational worship in which all those present at the āfrīnagān ceremony participate. (7) The āfrīn of Zardošt, which is in Avestan, whereas the others are in Pāzand. According to traditional belief, this āfrīn was first recited by Zoroaster while showering blessings on his patron Wištāsp—hence the name. A few priests say this āfrīn is an additional one (following the first three cited above) in the āfrīnagān of xordād-sāl, i.e., the day Xordād of the month Frawardīn, which is Zoroaster’s birthday. See Āfurišn.
E. K. Antia, Pazend Texts, Bombay, 1909, pp. 82-105, 107-10.
Modi, Ceremonies, pp. 364-68.
(F. M. Kotwal and J. W. Boyd)
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: July 28, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 6, pp. 580-581
F. M. Kotwal and J. W. Boyd, “ĀFRĪN,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/6, pp. 580-581; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/afrin-blessing-benedictory-prayers-said-at-the-conclusion-of-every-zoroastrian-ceremony-of-blessings (accessed on 14 March 2014).