Monday, July 25, 2011

Hamazor - United in Strength, Handshake & Prayer. The Payvand

Hamazor Handshake
Hamazor handshake as a clasp of both hands
"Hama" means 'all' or 'all together' and zor means 'strength'. Hamazor is also spelt and pronounced hamazoor or hamazur.

The hamazor rite is a ritual handshake or armshake symbolizing unity and solidarity of purpose (see the prayer below). In the rite of hamazor between two people, the two face one another and extend their right hands with their palms facing one another (i.e. palm-to-palm) as in a touching, not grasping, handshake.

In a variation, the right hands are lightly clasped around the others lower arm. The process is sometime repeated with the left hands after which the two raise their hands as if to touch their heads - a form of salute. Ritual words of greeting and good wishes are then exchanged.

There is a related handshake gesture with both hands where one person clasps the other's right hand on both sides between both hands: both on the inside i.e. palm facing palm and on the outside, i.e. palm facing the back of the hand. The other person responds by similarly clasping the first person's right hand between both of her or his hands.

The handshake is often accompanied by a verbal salutation "Hamazor hama asho-bed" meaning "May we all be united in strength and righteousness."
Priests join hands during a prayer ceremony celebrating Jashne Sadeh in
Kerman, Iran. Photo credit: Mehr at Payvand Iran News.
Coincidentally the name of the news organization, Payvand, means connection.

Peyvand / Payvand
Payvand - connection through the touching of hands
Simultaneously, the Rathvi (Raspi) is in contact with the afarganyu (fire urn)
Symbolizing the unity, synergy & harmony of the spiritual & material existences
Photos in Jashan and Afringan for Beginners
by Ervad Yazdi Antia, North American Mobeds Council
Currently at Fezana Religious Education
A connection in Peyvand (through the passing of a flower) amongst priests
Hamazor is a form of Payvand / Peyvand. Payvand means to unite, join, link and connect. For Zoroastrians, payvand is also a ritual connection symbolizing solidarity that results in a spiritual synergy. Payvand can take place through a joining of hands or by two people holding say a cord such as a kusti or a handkerchief between them.

According to Mary Boyce at Iranica: "Hamazor was also made when people gathered for public religious occasions. Thus at the end of jashan ceremonies, and at the last service for the departed (called chaharom in Persia and uthamna in India), after all had joined in reciting the Khorsheed Atash Niayesh and Nam Setayishn, the leading person present in the congregation (usually a priest) made Hamazor with the person next to him; then others would follow suit, thus everyone exchanged the greeting. After the Afringan ceremony, however, it was customary in India for the serving priest to make Hamazor with the celebrant, and then with each member of the congregation. In Persia instead he carried fire in a metal vase, with incense, slowly passing through the congregation, calling out "Hamazor Bim" as he went; and, as he passed, people stretched out their hands and drew the fragrant smoke towards themselves, while responding with the same words (Dastur Shehriyar, p. 305; Boyce, Stronghold, pp. 43-44)."

Hamazor Prayer
The Hamazor Prayer of Unity
Hamazor bim, (May we be united in strength)
Hamazor asho bim, (May we be united in strength and righteousness)
Hamazor vesh kerfe bim; (May we be united in strength and good deeds)
Ham kerfe karan bim,(May we be the doers of good deeds)
Dur az vanah karan bim, (May we be far from evil-doers)
Sare sarat va chinvat pul buzrag shad va asan man, (May we cross mountain tops and Chinwad Bridge with ease and rejoicing with rejoicing and ease)
Bevadirad behest garothman va fashum akhan raushan garothman, (May we attain the best existence of heaven and the eternal bliss of the light of heaven)
Hama khur-rami avar rasad. (May we receive such pious yearnings.)

Hathevaro Hand-clasp between a Couple During Their Marriage Ceremony
Hathevaro hand-clasp between a couple at their Marriage ceremony
The hand-clasp is also used to symbolize the union of a couple in marriage. (Also see our web-page on the Zoroastrian Marriage Ceremony.) The ara antar ritual during the ceremony entails two family members (or the priests) holding a sheet so that it hangs between the couple. The sheet hangs like a curtain prevents the couple from looking at one another, symbolizing the separation that has existed between them.

Next, after the priest or priests place a few grains of raw rice in the left hands of the couple, the groom's priest places the bride's right hand in the groom's right hand at the bottom edge of the curtain. He then wraps a string around their clasped right hands seven times while reciting the Ahunawar (Yatha Ahu Vairyo) prayer. This binding of the hands in handshake position is called hathevaro. It is a form of Payvand and Hamazor.

The Union Hand Clasp in Other Cultures
Engraving by Jean Duvet 1540-1555 of the Marriage of Adam and Eve. Note the hand clasp

A wedding ring design using the hand-clasp. One interpretation of the hand-clasp as a ring is that the union is eternal. Zoroastrianism traditions states that the hand-clasp between a couple was placed under a cloth curtain between them (see above). Image credit: planert-jewellery

No comments:

Post a Comment