PHOTO BY: Tejinder Singh
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Prayers being offered: (L-R) Ervard Kurush Dastur, Ervard Brigadier Behram Panthaki and Mobedyar Dr. Hormazd Katki



Boyds, Maryland – Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich attended the opening of the Hamaspathmaidyem Gahanbar, and made a special proclamation about Nowruz and recognition of the Zoroastrian community by Montgomery County.

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Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich

Elrich, in an emotional opening of his remarks, remembered the victims of the deadly shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. Going down the memory lane of his days growing up, Elrich noted his concept of an ever-expanding inclusive America and the World, but felt sad at the direction where some of the recent events are leading the society to. Elrich in his remarks called Zoroastrians an essential part of a multifaceted, multilingual, multi-faith and multicultural Montgomery county in the state of Maryland.

Thanking Elrich and the audience for attending the Hamaspathmaidyem Gahanbar, Ann Khademian, the President of Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Washington Inc. (ZAMWI), in her introductory remarks noted it is a “celebration of community, generosity and sharing, one week before Nowruz.”

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Ann Khademian, the President of ZAMWI

Khademian said, “All of our faith communities grieve for the victims of the tragic shooting in New Zealand. We are reminded of the importance of supporting and caring for each other, across communities and across oceans, and the importance of each act of kindness, generosity and caring.”

Behram Pastakia, a former president of ZAMWI, a leader in the broader Zoroastrian community, and co-chair Fezana UN-NGO Committee told IAT: “We are saddened to note the violence in the Christchurch in New Zealand. The entire world is one family and as a part of one family – an attack on one is an attack on all. We stand together in solidarity with all of humanity. This is also reflected in the Hindu philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which means the world is one family. God we worship is God of Wisdom and Fire connects us.”

Among other prominent attendees were Kersi Shroff. executive member of Montgomery county interfaith committee, Maryland; Hormuz Irani, Jimmy Dholoo, Brigadier Behram Panthaki, Sima Bastani and Mojgan Ariaban, all active community members.

There are six gahanbars observed during the year. Hamaspathmaidyem Gahanbar is the last gahanbar celebrated during the last five days before Nowruz. It is devoted to remembering the fravashis (farohars/guardian angels/souls) of those who have passed away.

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