Festival of Tirgân

The festival of Tiragân is observed on July 1st, and it is primarily a
rain festival and it is one of the three most widely celebrated feasts
(along with Mehregan and Norooz) amongst Iranian peoples. Tir in
modern Persian,; Tishtar in Middle Persian or Pahlavi; and Avestan
Tishtrya, is the Yazad presiding over the Star Sirius, brightest star
in the sky, and of rain, and thus Tir Yazad especially invoked to
enhance harvest and counter drought (Av. Apousha).

Besides an Afrainagân or Jashn dedicated to Tir, there appear to have
been many customs associated with Tiragân. Mary Boyce (Persian
Stronghold of Zoroatrianism) mentions a game of Moradula (‘bead-pot’)
or chokâdula (‘fate-pot’). She also related the custom of tying
rainbow-colored bands on their wrists which were worn for ten days and
then thrown into a stream. She observed during her time in Sharif-Âbâd
that many of the charming old Tiragan customs had died away by the
1960’s leaving “merry-making by young people and children, who with a
happy license… splash and duck one another in the village streams.”

Tiragan is also associated with the legend of the arrow (‘tir’), which
is briefly alluded to in the Tishtar Yasht (Yt8.6):

“We honor the bright, khwarrah-endowed star Tishtrya who flies as
swiftly to the Vouru-kasha sea as the supernatural arrow which the
archer Erexsha, the best archer of the Iranians, shot from Mount
Airyo-xshutha to Mount Xwanwant. (7) For Ahura Mazda gave him
assistance; so did the waters …”

An expanded account is found in Mirkond, History of the Early Kings of
Persia, Erekhsha Khshviwi-ishush (Pahlavi Arash-i Shiwâtir, i.e.
‘Arash of the swift arrow, and in modern Persian, known as Arash-e
Kamângir) was the best archer in the Iranian army. When Manouchehr and
Afrasiyab determined to make peace and to fix the boundary between
Iran and Turan, ‘it was stipulated that Arash should ascend Mount
Damâvand, and from thence discharge an arrow towards the east; and
that the place in which the arrow fell should form the boundary
between the two kingdoms. Arash thereupon ascended the mountain, and
discharged towards the east an arrow, the flight of which continued
from the dawn of day until noon, when it fell on the banks of the
Jeyhun (the Oxus).’

The following Tirgan story from the Persian Rivâyâts tie together many
of these elements:

It is related that when the wicked Afrasiyab, the Tur, ruled over
the country of Iran, it did not rain, at that time, for 8 years.
Afrasiyab, the Tur, asked the wise and the astrologers why it was
not raining. Zu Tahmasp answered: “You turned faithless, because
Faridoun had allotted to you Turkestan (only) and entrusted it to
you whereas he had allotted Iran to us and given it to us. You
turned away from that covenant and set it aside. It is for this
reason that, owing to this sin of yours, it does not rain.”
Afrasiyab asked how this could be ascertained. Zu Tahmurasp said: “I
shall throw an arrow from here, and where my arrow falls, there will
be the boundaries (of your territory).” Afrasiyab accepted it and
entered into a compact thus: “I shall consent to have as the
boundaries (of my territory) that place where your arrow settles and
I shall go out of Iran.” When this compact was entered into, it was
on the day Tir of the month Tir that Zu Tahmasp uttered the name of
God and threw the arrow from the country of Iran and that arrow fell
in the country of Turan by the command of Lord Ohrmazd. When that
arrow settled in the country of Turan, Afrasiyab took this witness
that the rains did not come on account of his faithlessness. Then
Afrasiyab arose from that place and went out of Iran with his army
and settled in the country of Turan. The intelligence of this spread
on the day Govad and heavy rains poured down on the day Govad. Then
they assented to institute a festival in the country of Iran on the
day Tir of the month Tir and up to now the Dasturs of Iran write a
Nirang (formula) and tie it on the hands of the faithful and remove
it from their hands on the day Govad, throw it into the sea on that
day for the reason that the glad tidings of the return of Afrasiyab
to Turan had reached on the day Govad. It is for this reason that
this nirang is untied from the hands and thrown into the sea so that
all calamities may sink into the sea.

Source: www.home.btconnect.com/CAIS/Celebrations/tirgan.htm