The Zarathushtis of Los Angeles have broken ground on their Atash Kadeh in Orange County. This is truly a momentous occasion and a continuation of the trend of Zoroastrianism spreading and finding permanency and a home in the diaspora, especially in North America.
Our good friend Tehmi Damania, President of the Zoroastrian Association of California writes in, via the FEZANA website
Finally the big day arrived for the ground breaking ceremony for our Atash Kadeh!
On October 18, 2015 the members arrived on the grounds of the center which was decorated with a beautiful toran on a huge canopy and set with all the prayer paraphernalia for the Jashan to be performed for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Atash Kadeh. Chairs were strategically placed under the shade of a huge tree for members to sit close by and enjoy the prayers recited by our revered Mobeds Zarrir Bhandara, Zerkxis Bhandara, Jehangir Dastur and Arda-e-Viraf Minocherhomjee. Arrangements were made in the Center premises for the special invitees and seniors who would prefer to sit inside the Hong Kong Room and view the ceremony with the comfort of hearing it relayed on the speakers.
The Center too was decorated with auspicious “chalk and toran” everywhere. There was an air of “Khushaali na Sagan” all around.
The prayers started promptly at 11.30am and everyone was engrossed in the powerful mathravani that filled the air. Next to the canopy where the Jashan was in progress, there were two chairs which were set up for the actual ground breaking ceremony. On these chairs were set a box decorated with “Kumkum teeli” and tied with a huge red bow. This box contained the items of Zoroastrian religion which included a Khordeh Avesta, Kusti, Sadro, Topi, sukhad, lobaan, rice, kumkum, Zarthost silver coin, a Farohar, 7 types of ores, sagan ni sopari, kharak, harad, badam, saaker etc and topped with a full list of names of all our members. Next to the box in a silver “ses” was placed a coconut with large kumkum teeli, a pomegranate cut in pieces, and a big bowl of rose petals sprinkled with rose water and with a bag of rice to be used by all for offering into the ground.
When the Jashan was over, all the mobeds together with the members of the ZAC executive committee and past presidents – Noshir Jesung, Khushroo Lakdawalla, Darayus Mistry and Vira Santoke – who were present for the ceremony, came toward the ground where the earth was dug out. Thereafter, to the chanting of 21 yatha and 12 ashem vohu by all present, everyone showered the rose petals with the rice into the ground. The sound of the mathravani that filled the air at that time was truly magical!! Lastly, the pomegranate seeds and pieces were offered in and Darius Mistry then broke the coconut and sprinkled the water in the ground.. Mobed Arda-e-Viraf was then requested to come forward and put the box inside the ground which was accompanied by cheers and clapping by all the members present. The special invitees were then escorted out to put the first shovels of earth into the ground. Thereafter, everyone present – young and old had a chance to pick up a shovel full of earth and place it into the ground and fill it up completely.
Although we were in the midst of hot summer days, the weather was fairly cloudy with a constant breeze that day as though Ahura Mazda was blessing the project and everyone who took part in it.
There was lot of mevo, malido, fruit, sev and ravo to be had by all which was later followed by a delicious sagan nu dhan daar patiyo and topped with Xerxes Commissariat’s famous mango kulfi which was appreciated by one and all.
It was once again proved that when we all put our efforts together we are sure to succeed.
Thank you all for gracing this wonderful occasion and a BIG thank you to everyone who made an extra effort to get all the ravo sev, malido, mevo fruit etc to help us make this function a grand success! We also want to thank everyone who helped us to set up the place for the function and did all the hard work of setting the tables and chairs and the audio system and helped in the kitchen and the clean up thereafter. Special thanks to Arnavaz Dungore and Sri Rasa of Woodlands Restaurant for making it possible to have Parsi food for the occasion.
THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!
The photographs are now available at the ZAC website in 3 albums for the event.