A simplified version of our calendar to use as a ready reckoner for kids and adults alike!!
Our Sacred Calendar
What is the difference between our calendar and the Gregorian calendar we use every day? We have 30 days for each of the twelve months of the year. Each day is named after some divine power or after some aspect of nature.
- What is the name of the first day of the month? Ohrmazd which is a later form of Ahura Mazda, Lord of Life & Wisdom, or Wise Lord of Wisdom. Both Mazda & Medha have the same root. Ahura Mazda is within us and outside us, in every particle of existence.
- What is the name of the second day of the month? Behman, a later form of Vohu Mana, meaning Good Mind. 1. What does Good Mind signify? Vohu Mana is the good and loving mind of Ahura Mazda. It is the Vohu Mana who guides our thoughts so that we think good, speak good and do good to others. That is why the motto of our religion is Humata, Hukta, Huvarashta: Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.
- What is the third day of the month? Ardibehesht, a later form of Asha Vahishta, the Highest Truth: Asha, Skt, Rta, has many meanings. It signifies Truth, Justice, Righteousness, Divine Law and Order, Virtue, Holiness. In his Gathas, or Songs of Praise, Zarathustra says: “Ahura Mazda and the Truth are one” (Ys 29.7). We have to keep Asha Vahishta, the Mighty Truth, always in mind and act accordingly.
- What is the name of the fourth day of the month? Shehrevar, a later form Khshathra Vairya. Khshathra means Power, Sovereignty, Kingdom and Vairyo means to choose. We choose Ahura Mazda’s Power, Sovereignty, Kingdom and make these our own. What does Shehrevar do for us? Shehrevar helps us to destroy evil and gives us strength to follow the Good Mind. In our Yashts, Shehrevar is described as “Lord of pure metals, the most compassionate protector of the poor.” Why metals? Metals are hard. They can be melted, but not destroyed. Even so, Ahura Mazda’s Power and Sovereignty cannot be destroyed.. Shehrevar always protects the Drighu who are the poor and the downtrodden, the homeless and the oppressed.
- How do we describe the fifth day of the month? Spendarmard, short for Spenta Armaiti. Spenta means holy, pure, blessed. Armaiti signifies intense love and devotion for Ahura Mazda. She nestles in our hearts. She cradles the earth in her arms. In the Gathas, Zarathustra describes her as the daughter of Ahura Mazda, her lap full of good deeds, (Ys. 45.4). It was for her sake that Ahura Mazda ‘made plants flourish at the birth of primeval life” (Ys. 48.6). When we are perplexed by doubts, she comes to our help and solves all our problems (Ys. 31.12), for she is “the beloved of the wise” and the “treasured one of the Good Mind” (Ys. 34.9 & 48.6).
- What is the sixth day named? Khordad, which is later form of Haurvatat, Perfection, Health, Well being.
- She is the twin of the seventh day, Amardad, another form of Ameretat, Immortality. Why are Khordad and Amardad twins? Because Perfection and Immortality are very hard to achieve. In his Gathas, Zarathushtra says these twins “live in the dazzling light of Ahura Mazda’s wisdom” (Ys. 33.9). All our life we must struggle to become perfect so that we may be worthy of the blessing of immortality. These first seven days are named after Ahura Mazda and his six Divine Powers. Collectively they are called the Amesha Spenta, later known as the Amshahspands, meaning Immortal Shining Ones or Benevolent Immortals.
- What is the eight day named? Dae-pe-Adar, He who was before the creation of Fire, referring to Ahura Mazda Himself. Every seven days, there is a break in our calendar. Why? To remind us our loving Creator; Dadaar Ohrmazd. The entire calendar is centred on Him and His beautiful creation.
- Then will the ninth day be named Adar? Yes, Adar or Atar, Fire, is part of Ahura Mazda. In our Haptan Yasht it is written: “The most pure and luminous of all luminous bodies is Yours, O Ahura Mazda, clothed in the most exalted of all exalted Heavenly Lights, which is the Sun” (Ys. 36.6). Hvare Kshaetha, the Resplendent Sun, and Atash Khoreh the Radiant Fire, are two very important symbols in our religion. Both Fire and the Sun are manifestations of the light. So Ahura Mazda is Life and Light and Wisdom. Let us keep that in mind at all times.
- Why is the tenth day named Ava, the Spirit of the Waters? Because both Fire and Water are essential in our daily life. Fire cooks our food and gives us warmth. It also purifies by destroying all filth so that we can have a clean world to live in. water is even more important. Without water plants, animals and mankind would die.
- What is the eleventh day called? Khorshed or Khursheed, the Sun. after Fire and Water comes the life-giving Sun. when we plant a seed and water it, then the Sun gives its roots warmth so that seed pushes out green shoots, leaves, flowers and fruits appear and nourish man and animals and the earth. In our Khoshed Nyaesh, prayer in praise of the sun, it is written: When the sun shines, when its heat brings warmth, then the Spiritual Yazatas (angelic powers) stand by in their hundreds and their thousands. They gather up the heat and the light of the sun and spread it over this Ahura-created earth. Thus the ever radiant and swift-horsed sun fertilises the holy earth, fertilises her yield so that there is an abundant harvest. When the sun rises, he causes the purification of this Mazda-created earth. He purifies the flowing waters, the gushing streams, the wide oceans, the stil waters. Thus he purifies the holy Creation which belongs to Spenta Mainyu, the Holy Spirit. (Khorshed Nyaesh paras 11 & 12).
- Now that the eleventh day is named Khorshed, the Sun, will the twelfth day be named Mohor, the Moon? Yes. The Moon also influences the growth of plants. The ancient Iranians, like the Vedic Rishis, noticed that the Haoma plant, Vedic Soma, becomes green and fresh, the stems filled with juice on full moon nights. So at midnight, when the moon is full, the Haoma plant was plucked and its juice consecrated the following morning in the Haoma ceremony. Today we call the Haoma plant the EPHEDRA plant from which Ephedrine is made.
- Why is the thirteenth day named Tir? Tir is short for the Satr Tishtriya, the rain-giving star. Iran is a plateau, so after the long hot, dry summer, people searched the sky for the Star Tishtriya. When it appeared, the rain followed and the dry earth was green again.
- What is the fourteenth day named? Gosh. We say: Gai-goshpand, the cow and her herds. So the fourteenth day is dedicated to animals, specially domestic animals used for food, namely, cattle, sheep, goats etc. Goshurvan is the spirit which protects all four-footed animals as we learn from the Pahlavi text, the Shayesht-ne-Shayesht (the Proper and the Improper), XXII.14. Some Parsis, therefore abstain from eating meat on Gosh Roj, and also on Behram Roj, as Vohu Mana was believed to be special protector of Goshurvan or Geush Urva as she is called in the Gathas. Again we have a break in the calendar. Why? To remind us of Ahura Mazda.
- This break comes on the fifteenth day. What is it named? Dae-pe-Meher. He who was before the Light, that is, Ahura Mazda. Meher is the Yazata of Light and Mercy. That is why we name our smallest of Fire Temples Dar-e-Meher, the gate of Light or Mercy. You remember the eighth day is named Dae-pe-Adar, He who was before the Fire was created. So Dae-pe-Meher means He who was before the creation of Light and Mercy. Why do we have these reminders of Ahura Mazda every seven days? So that we should never forget our loving Creator, Daadar Ohrmazd. Zarathushtra describes Him as “the Father of Vohu Mana, the Good Mind, the unique Creator of Asha, the Truth, and Lord over the actions of Life” (Ys. > 31.8). We should consecrate our every thought, word and act to Ahura Mazda for He is Paiti-Paiush, our Supreme Protector (Ahura Mazda Yasht, para 14).
- So after Dae-pe-Meher will the sixteenth day be named Meher? Yes. Meher is also described in our Meher Nyaesh as the “Just Judge” (Davar-e-Rastt) for he punishes those who break their promises. Like Asha, he asks everyone to practice strict justice. In the very long Meher Yasht different aspects of this angelic power are described in detail.
- What is the seventeenth day named? Sraosha. This word comes from the root “sru” meaning inward hearing, so Sraosha is the “hearkening” or “listening” to the voice of Ahura Mazda and willingly obeying His wishes. Sraosha is the guardian of all human souls, specially after death. For three days and three nights Sraosha protects the Soul (Urvan/Ravan) , and the dead body from harm. On the fourth day, at dawn, Sraosha, with Rashnu and Meher, leads the Soul to Chinvat Bridge, the Bridge of Judgement.
- Is that why the eighteenth day is named after Rashnu? Yes. Rashnu holds the scales of justice to weigh the good and evil deeds of the soul of man. Meher stands by to comfort the Soul to bear its punishment. Many of our wedding invitations have the caption on the top, in gujarathi: “Dadaar Ohrmazd – ni Meher”, meaning: By the mercy of our loving Creator, Ohrmazd, may this marriage be blest.”
- What is the nineteenth day named? Farvardin. This day is dedicated to the Fravashis or Farohars who are the Guardian Spirits not only of mankind, but the whole of nature. The Fravashi is an immortal spark of light coming from Ahura Mazda. The Fravashi cannot be destroyed or corrupted. It is said to hover around the head of every human being persuading the Soul, or Ravan, and the Baodha, or intellect, to follow the Asho-Patho, the path of Truth leading to Ahura Mazda. Not only mankind, but every plant and animal has its individual Fravashi. Even Ahura Mazda and Zarathustra have their magnificent Fravshis. (Satum no Kardo 2 & 5).
- What is the twentieth day named? Behram, the Angel of Victory. Our large fire temples are named Atash Behrams, Fires of Victory. Zoroastrian Kings in Iran always had a thanks giving jashan performed in an Atash Behram after victory in battle. In former times, our grand parents and great grand parents always recited the Behram Yasht before going on long journey specially a perilous journey.
- Why is the twenty first day called Raam? Raam, or Mino Raam as is often referred to, is the “Spirit of Abounding Peace”. Every victory in battle should be followed by a deep and lasting peace which helps us to grow in virtue and courage.
- The twenty second day is named Govad. What does the word mean? “Go” means “good” and “Vaad/Vaat” means “Wind”. Hence, Govad means a gentle breeze which every one welcomes, not a stormy wind which knocks you down. Now that seven days have gone by, will there be another break? Yes.
- The twenty third day is named Dae-pe-Din, He who was before the religion, referring to Ahura Mazda. Our religion is named Beh-Din or Daena Vanghui, the Good Religion. In our brief Din-no-Kalmoor, Declaration of Faith, we say: “Din-e-Ohrmazd dadeh Zarathost” i.e., the Religion of Ahura Mazda given to Zarathustra to reveal to all mankind. The word, “Din” or “Daena” comes from the root, “Dae” to see. Daena reveals Ahura Mazda to ask so that we may see Him in our mind’s eye, even as Sraosh enables us to hear His voice and obey His wishes.
- I presume the twenty fourth day would be named Din? Yes. All our actions should be guided by our conception of Ahura Mazda revealed to us by our Daena or Din. If we follow the suggestions of our Daena and Sraosha we cannot go wrong. We must always be fair and just in our dealings with others, even if we have to suffer for it.
- What follows Din? The twenty fifth day is named Ashishvangh which is short for Ashi Vanghui, Ashi the Good. Who is she? She is the “sister” of Daena or Din, our Religion. In the long Ashishvangh Yasht there is a section which describes her parentage: Thy father is the holy Ahura Mazda; Thy Mother Spenta Armaity, Holy Devotion; Thy brothers Sraosha, Rashnu and Meher; Thy sister Daena Vanghui. (Yt. 17.16). Ashi signifies both earthly and heavenly riches or rewards. That is why Sraosha is often described as “The faithful Companion of Ashi”. In the Gathas, Zarathustra speaks of her as “Rayo Ashish”, Radiant Rewards for she is the blessing of Asha, the Truth, Ashi being the feminine form of Asha. In the opening verse of Gatha of Enlightenment, Zarathustra prays to Ahura Mazda to bestow upon him, Armaiti, loving Devotion, that radiant reward which is the life of the Good Mind, Vohu Mana. (Ys. 43.1)
- What is the name of the twenty sixth day? Ashtad, a later form of Astavat-eretay meaning embodiment of Truth and Justice (Asha) – radiant Rewards can only be gained if we embody Truth and Justice in our daily life.
- What is the twenty seventh day called? Asman, the Sky. The Sky covers the Earth and the stars and the planets. The ancient Iranians believed the Sky was made of pure, white, translucent crystal. Again we return to Nature. Fire and Water had come earlier, and so did the Sun, the Moon, and the Star Tishtriya.
- Then I expect the twenty eighth day will be named Zamyad? Yes. Zam means the Erth, and “Yad” a Yazad/Yazata an angelic being. Zamyad, therefore, signifies the Angelic earth. Zarathustra taught that Getik or the physical world, and Menok, the mental or spiritual world, are one world, the two sides of the same coin, and both are sacred. Man is the protector of all animals and plants. Hence, the expression, “The sacred Water and Plants”. The Earth, and all the creatures living on it, need our love and protection. That is why Armaiti, Holy Devotion, cradles the Earth in her arms.
- What is the twenty ninth day named? Marespand, short for Manthra Spenta, the Sacred Word of Power, the Word of Ahura Mazda. Where do we find the word? In the Avesta, our Sacred Scriptures. The word Avesta, means Pillar or Foundation. Our prayers embody the Manthra Spenta. That is why it is important we understand the meaning of our prayers. Our Prophet Zarathustra describes himself as Manthra-Ne, a Preacher of the Holy Word (Ys.. 50.5), and Manthranodutim, a messenger bringing the Holy Word to the peoples of the world (Ys. 32.13). Later texts also mentioned the Fashusho Manthra, the Manthra of the animal kingdom (cf. Skt. Pashu, animal, and Av. Fashu, animal). The Fashusho manthra is not mentioned in our calendar.
- What is the thirtieth and the last day of our Calendar named? Anneran, short for Anagra Raocha – o, Everlasting Light. Ahura Mazda dwells in everlasting light. If in this life we have performed good deeds, then when we die and leave our earthly body for good, our Ravan or soul will live in Garo Demana, the House of Song, in bliss or Ushta.
The Months 1. Farvardin 2. Ardibehesht 3. Khordad 4. Tir 5. Amardad 6. Shehrevar 7. Meher 8. Ava 9. Adar 10. Dae 11. Behman 12. Spandarmard or Asfandarmard
In the last ten days of the year we add five days, and on each of the five days we recite a Gatha of Zarathustra. This is to remind us of our Prophet and his teachings, for the Gathas are our most important text. Our Navroze or New Year is celebrated on the day Ohrmazd and the month Farvardin. In ancient Iran, this was celebrated on the 21st of March, the Spring Equinox. Even today, the Iranians celebrate their Navroze on the Spring Equinox. So our Sacred Calendar teaches us how to renew our life, day after day, remembering Ahura Mazda and His Prophet, Zarathustra.
Courtesy : Zubin Lilaowala