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In this experimental scheme, Yalda is the time of re-birth of the Sun , which is symbolic of the re-birth of Chrestus (also Chrestodeus) - the Good Power that is the saviour of the world, which is heralded and represented to us as the Angel Mithras.

BRUMA is the seven-day period from the 18th December to the 24th when the days are at their shortest in the year.

The time of Bruma is a time of anxiety as the evil power of Dreggor (the Deviator, or Devil) seems to be at its strongest, preventing the light that brings life from reaching us.

Bruma begins on the 18th by the marking of CHRESTIMORS - the death of Chrestus - i.e. the death (or weakest point) of the influence of the divine saving power (the Divine Chrestor or Saoshyant) in the world. Chrestimors is the equivalent of the Good Friday of the Jesuchristians, and perhaps some similar kind of observance would be appropriate.

The whole period of Bruma should be marked by fasting in some form. The most religious will want to restrict their diet to minimum quantities of the most basic plain foods - avoiding meat, sugar, alcohol etc. This period of fasting is broken by a 'Breakfast' (a 'Bruma Breakfast'?) - a celebratory meal held after sundown on the 24th December.

Yalda Night is the longest night of the year and occurs roughly in the middle of the Bruma week. The exact date of Yalda Night is set by the Iranian calendar but it is normally the evening of the 20th or 21st of December. Yalda Night should be celebrated in company with others taking actions that strengthen us against the evil around us - perhaps by lighting fires or reciting poetry as the Persians do. However it is not a time for indulgence or feasting.

Yalda - the birth of Mithras Chrestus - can be said to occur on the dawn that ends the Yalda night.

However in ancient times the date of the winter solstice was not easy to determine. The sun was regarded to 'stand still' at this time of year, for there was barely any difference between the lengths of consecutive days and nights. Thus it could be a day or two after the actual time of the solstice before people could be sure that the days were really lengthening again.

Zartochrestians consider that it is not til sunset on the 24th December that we can be sure that the period of Bruma is really over, and can start to celebrate.

In human terms we might say that it is not natural to celebrate and visit a baby immediately after birth. This is both because it takes time for the news to spread and for people to travel to where the baby is. Also it is right that a mother and baby have a few days privacy before the baby is presented publicly to the world.

Thus CHRESTIKANA - the 'festival of Chrestus' begins properly on the 25th December - and then lasts a week to the 31st. This is the time for the joyful merrymaking and celebration we associate already with Christmas. Note that strictly speaking Chrestikana corresponds to the Epiphany of the Jesuchristians rather than the Nativity.

The Yalda Magi are the wizards who observe the heavens to determine the date of the solstice and the arrival of Mithras Chrestus. The story goes that they were 'following a star' but perhaps the star they were really interested in was the sun. At Chrestikana the Magi bring gifts to Chrestus - which we might interpret as lending their support, help and protection to the baby Mithras that he might grow bigger and stronger.

Marcus Zartianus, December 4019 ME