ĀFRĪNAGĀN, a term for one of the outer Zoroastrian liturgical services and for the specific Avestan prayers which accompany it. The word is derived from OIr. ā-fri- and invites comparison with Sanskrit āpri-, a class of prayers expressing an invitation to divinities to partake of the sacrifice (see M. Haug, Essays on the Sacred Language, Literature, and Religion of the Parsees, 2nd ed., London, 1878, pp. 284-85). The other outer services are the faroxši (q.v., the recitation of the Frawardīn Yašt in honor of the dead) and the stom (Av. staomya vačǡ, a prayer recited before ritual meals in honor of the dead). Two or more priests perform the āfrīnagān ceremony. The officiating priest (zōd) recites all three parts of it. The assisting priest (rāspī) joins in the recitation of the second part and tends the fire with sandalwood and incense. The following implements are required: (1) a fire-vase containing fire, with a ladle and pair of tongs; (2) a metal tray bearing the sandalwood and incense; and (3) another tray bearing myazd i.e., votive offerings of fruit, flowers, milk, wine, and water.

The three parts of the rite are: (1) the Pāzand dībāča. In this the zōd announces: (a) the number of Ahunawar prayers which will preface part two; (b) the gāh (period of the day) in which the rite is being performed; (c) the name of the xšnūman, i.e., invocatory formula, which will also preface part two (thus the divinity to whom the āfrīnagān is addressed is specified); (d) the name of the person, living or deceased, for whom the prayer is being offered; (e) the name of the person at whose request the rite is being performed. Since the āfrīnagān ceremony comprises the offering of several āfrīnagān prayers, the dībāča must be repeated in the course of the rite, uttered in a low tone or murmur (bāǰ). (2) After recitation of the number of Ahunawars appropriate to the particular kind of āfrīnagān being performed (see below), together with three Ašəm Vohu prayers, the gāh formula pertaining to that day-period is recited; it is followed by the appropriate xšnūman (on these prayers, see Sīrōza). Then the Avestan āfrīnagān prayer proper is said (for translation, see especially Avesta, tr. Darmesteter, II, pp. 723-38). Following it, the rāspī, with a flower in one hand, stands before the fire-vase; he recites the formula invoking blessing on the ruler (Āfrīnagān 1.8-12). (3) The requisite Pāzand āfrīn prayers are recited by the zōd. Below are the names of the āfrīnagān rites, in parentheses the number of Ahunawars recited: (1) Dādār Ohrmazd (ten); (2) Amahrspands and Yazds (seven); (3) Sīrōza (two); (4) Ardā Frawaxš (eight); (5) Dahman (two); (6) Srōš (five); (7) Rapiθwin, recited only on Rōz Ardwahišt, Māh Frawardīn (twelve); (8) Gāhānbār, in the six five-day festivals of the year divisions (four); (9) Gāθā, recited on the last five days of the year (eight); (10) Daham Yazd, recited especially on the dawn of the fourth day after a death (seven); (11) Mīnū Nāwar, recited by the initiate into the priesthood on the fourth to the last day of his initiation (seven). The first six may be performed on any day. 


See also Modi, Ceremonies, pp. 354-84.

For the Pāzand dībāča and āfrīns: E. K. Antia, Pazand Texts, Bombay, 1909, pp. 82-110, 152-54.

(M. F. Kanga)

Originally Published: December 15, 1984

Last Updated: July 28, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 6, p. 581

Cite this entry:

M. F. Kanga, “ĀFRĪNAGĀN,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/6, p. 581; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/afrinagan-a-term-for-one-of-the-outer-zoroastrian-liturgical-services (accessed on 14 March 2014).