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Gâhanbâr Calendar The Oldest Calendar that has Found in Persia

January 9, 2006


Reza Moradi Ghiasabadi
Translator: Sam Sheykh-ol Eslami

In Old Persian (Iranian) epigones there are six yearly celebrations that are called “Gâhanbâr celebrations”. Name and time of these celebrations has been recorded differently that shows their long history. These celebrations they start at summer. In order are these: “Midyu- shem” that means middle of summer. “Patyah- shahim” means end of summer. “Ayâthrema” coldness starting, middle of fall. “Mid- yârem” means middle of year, end of fall (year starts in summer). “Hamaspat- madam” that means equality between day and night or equality between coldness and warmness, end of winter, spring equinox. “Midyu- zarem” means middle of green season or spring.

Writer’s idea about these celebrations is that these ceremonies were parts of an old calendar that length of the year instead of 12 months had 4 seasons and 4 half seasons and each period had its name and one celebration.

Gâhanbâr year starts at summer first day of summer or summer solstice and after seven periods. Three season ending and four half seasons would reach next year (end of spring or summer’s starting didn’t have celebrations and that was only New Year celebration).

In later times and during sassanid garbles they tried to amend new celebration to “Mazda- yasna” calendar to compare celebrations with their belives. They made religious reasons for celebrations like creation of water earth, herbals, animals and human. They changed the times of thee happenings to achieved their ideological goals. Because of Sassanid calendar changes we have different calendars with different celebration times. Structured of Gâhanbâr calendar is simple and still most of Persian (Iranian) farmers use this calendar. Farmers mostly count days from start of seasons that month of years. “Biruni” says in “khârazm” they call half season “Ajghâr” and among people this day is an important day.

They believe this day was an ancient important day that all parts of calendar have forgotten and the only thing that has remained is Ajghâr.

Another reason that writer’s consist on are name and meaning of Gâhanbâr that shows their exact time in starting season and half seasons.

According to the six based counting of Gâhanbâr two of them are missed that end of spring and middle of winter.

End of spring corresponds new year ceremonies and it’s not like other seasons which have special ceremonies. But about middle of spring there is nothing and no evidence has found about it there is a possibility that this Gâhanbâr has been omitted deliberately by Sassanid clergymen. Because of their ideology about creation of world. But some people from different part have ceremony at middle of winter. Special happening for “Pire-e Shâliyâr/ Shahriyâr” at “Urâmânât of Kurdistan. “Mirmâ” celebration at mountains of “Tapouristan/ Tabaristan” (in last centuries called “Mâzandarân”)and northwest of “Hindukosh” mountains of “Afghanistan” (Takhâr, Baghlân and Samangân states). Also in some calendars like “Vahâr Kurdi” new year starts at this time. This calendar is used at “Loristan”, “Kurdistan” and “Bakhtiyâri.

Ther are signs of summer starting and New Year Gâhanbâr in “Farâhân” and some central parts of Iran there are some celebration that called (first of summer). That people gather and have some fun specially they throw water to the others in field. At “Savâd- kuh, 29th of “khordâd” is called at this time they make fire at high mountains and have fun and some time weddings happen at this time.
There is a forgotten celebration called “Niloufar” at 6th of “Tir” and Zoroastrian “Porseh” a ceremony which is for sprit if death at first day of Tir is the other ancient ceremonies.

Writer has fount some old calendars which are based upon Gâhanbâr system that start and ends in seasonal periods. One of them is the collar calendar that is near “Tchogâ- zanbil” Zigurat at “Shush” city.

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