Commemoration of the death anniversary of the great composer and skilled tar player, Farhad Arzhangi
Today is the holy day of Khordad Ameshaspand (archangel), 6th of Khordad of the year 3759 of Zoroastrian calendar, 4th of Khordad of 1400 official solar calendar, and May 25, 2021.
On the 4th of Khordad 1340, Tehran was witness to the untimely death of Farhad Arzhangi, a highly skilled artist, composer, tar player, and painter, who seems to have passed by the sky of Iranian culture and art like a star and left behind a trail of his priceless works, though few, as a gift for the future generations.
Farhad Arzhangi, born on February 4, 1939, is the son of the famous Iranian painter, Rassam Arzhangi, from a prominent family, who have been all painters and sculptors for 500 years. He started playing the Tar at the age of 7 with Ali Akbar Khan Shahnazi. During his 15 years of practicing and playing the Tar, he made such progress that when a famous musician retired from the Iranian Academy of Music, a competition was organized to replace him. Farhad Arzhangi won this challenging exam, and at the age of 20, he taught students as an assistant professor at the Tehran Conservatory of Music. He later played the Tar at the request of the Fine Arts Department, which had just started working in television. He traveled to Turkey, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to introduce Iranian music to the people of those countries.
At age 22, Farhad Arzhangi wrote many books and wrote the classical Radif in Iran (from Agha Hossein Ali School) and advanced Radif (composed by Ali Akbar Khan Shahnazi) organology and music in the East, and wrote many intro and old songs. What is left of him now is more than 23 songs.
Ms.Homa Arzhangi, a famous songwriter, the youngest member of Farhad Arzhangi’s sister’s family, collected and published works of Farhad. On October 16, 2011, Arasbaran Cultural Center, after 50 years of his death, commemorated his works and unveiled the book “The Role of Farhad,” which contains his musical notations. Houshang Zarif, one of the famous tar players, and Farhad Arzhangi’s colleague in his youth, complained about delay in holding this memorial gathering, and recalled how he met Farhad and his memories of that meeting, adding: “Farhad Arzhangi was a musician with technique and played tar with deep emotions, and if he were alive, he would have been the best tar player.”
Alireza Mir Alinaghi, a music researcher who wrote a preface to the book “The Role of Farhad,” mentioned his disappointment about the music’s family not having any mention of Arzhangi for 50 years, and said: “as the celebration ceremony has increased over the years, music has been ignored.”
His works related to music included:
The course of classic Radif in Iran “Agha Hoseingholi Method”
Advanced Radif “composed by Ali Akbar Khan Shahnazi”
Organology and music in the East
Intro and old songs.
He also composed many songs and what he has left is more than 23 songs.
The celebration of ordinance and fulfilment, health and life;
The celebration of verdure and vitality, prayer and praise;
The celebration of rain and prosperity, and water abundance;
The celebration of restoration of life on earth
Khordadgan celebration, falling on 4th of Khordad, is to celebrate the overlapping of the name of the day and the month (both Khordad), and its high status in the hearts and minds of Iranians, being the protector of water.
Khordad in the Avestan language is pronounced as Horvatat and in Pahlavi (middle Persian) pronounced as Hordat, meaning “Khordat” or “Hordat” means accessibility and perfection, which in Gathas is one of the features of Ahura Mazda, and in the New Avesta is the name of one of the seven Amshaspands and the symbol of Ahura Mazda’s perfection. Khordad is a female Amshaspand whose job is to protect water in this world and help people overcome thirst, so, as a custom, her name is taken when drinking water. In the Gathas, Khordad and Amordad come together. In the New Avesta, these two Amshaspands are the guardians of the waters and plants that come to the aid of the people and defeat thirst and hunger. In Yasna, section (Hot) 47, it is stated that Ahura Mazda will give the immortality of Amrdad to a person whose thoughts, words and deeds are in accord with the religion of truth.
The fourth Yasht of the twenty-one Yashts of the Avesta is dedicated to the praise and worship of Lady Khordad Amshaspand, in which Yasht Ahura Mazda speaks: “I have created friendship and cooperation, salvation, peace and happiness of Khordad for the pious people… “And then it is emphasized that one who praises Khordad, it is like praising all the Ameshaspands (archangels). In Buhndahishn also, there is mention of Khordad: “Khordad is the 6th of Minyans. From the creation of this world, she chose water for herself. Khordad is the master of years and months and days, (which means) she is the master of everything. From this world water is attributed to her. It says: “Existence, birth and growing of all the creatures in this material world are from water and the earth owes its prosperity to her.”
In Buhndahishn it is mentioned that the flower “lily” is the special flower of Lady Khordad Ameshaspand”. It also says that every flower belongs to one of the Ameshaspands; lily belongs to Khordad…” And, therefore, the best symbol for celebrating Khordadgan is lily. The most popular lily, among Iranians, is the white lily, Lilium candidum, or wild lily, which is also known as the Sousan-e Dah-zaban or Sousan-e Gol Deraz. In the Pahlavi text of Khosrow Ghobadan and Ridak, the smell of white lilies is described as “the smell of friendship.”
One of the most important customs of Khordad Day, which becomes more outstanding during the Khordadgan celebration, is going to the fountains or by the seas and rivers, bathing in water, and reciting special prayers on this day with delight and happiness with family and friends. In the Pahlavi text of Andarz ī Adurbād ī Mahraspandān, it is mentioned that on this basis, on this day, particular attention was paid to the maintenance and renovation of places where the water originates and flows there, such as fountains, springs, streams, kariz (aqueduct), and rivers that continue to live on this planet with their life-giving water which make it possible to live on this planet.