The Christchurch Iranian Society held an event at the University of Canterbury on Sunday 14 October to celebrate Mehregan.

Mehregan is an ancient Persian festival celebrated to honour the god of light, Mithra or Mehr‎, which is responsible for friendship, affection and love. It is also known as the Persian Festival of Autumn and is one of the most important Persian celebrations.

Celebrating Mehregan is a tradition which dates back more than 4000 years. In ancient times, Mehregan was extravagantly celebrated across the Persian Empire. It was the time for harvest and was important for a civilisation whose economy was primarily based on agriculture. But people mainly celebrated the fact that God had given them food to survive the coming cold months. It was also an occasion to celebrate friendship, affection and love.

Mehregan is still celebrated by Iranians all around the world in the middle of the month of Mehr — the first month of Autumn in Persian calendar — which sits in the first week of October.

The Christchurch event featured speeches and performances by a number of musicians and dancers.

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