There are special events in the Shamsi (Solar) calendar that make this calendar unique and one of a kind. What makes these days special is that all of them entail a special occasion in Persian culture; some of which are religious and others are traditional occasions.
Let’s take a close look at some of the special days in the Iranian calendar:
Historical and Traditional Events:
Iranian calendar starts with Nowruz, the rejuvenation of the earth. Nowruz is the equivalent of Iranian New Year’s eve which each year is celebrated between March 20th and 22nd.
Nowruz holidays extend for the first 13 days of the first month of the year, Farvardin, in which Iranians enjoy their spring holidays.
Nowruz is an ancient Persian tradition in which the renewal of the earth, the delightful weather, and the abundance in the land that occurs after a fight with a long cold winter are celebrated.
Traditionally, Iranians clean their houses and renew their lifestyle before approaching the New Year to welcome the New Year with open arms. They throw a feast on Nowruz evening to celebrate the coming of New Year with their loved ones.
The dinner that is served on New Year’s Eve is called Sabzi Polo ba Mahi (Fish served with rice and vegetables) which is specifically designed for this night of the year. One of the top favorite traditions during the Nowruz holidays is Eidi Dadan (giving money) to children.
The older members of the family usually pay the younger member some money to congratulate them on the coming of the New Year and to wish them prosperity and abundance in the coming year.
Since Iranians visit their families and spend some time together during the Nowruz holidays, it is the perfect opportunity for them to showcase the hospitality for which they are known around the world.
Farvardin the 10th marks the day for the Abangah celebration (celebration on the 10th of each month which is called “Aban” the father of water) in ancient Persian tradition. On this day, people used to pour water on each other to hope for lots of rain in the coming year.
If one this day it rains, then this is the celebration that should be performed by men. And if it does not rain, the celebration is performed by women. While this special holiday is mostly forgotten in Iran, other celebrations are derived from it and are still celebrated.
The first Saturday and the first Wednesday of the year which is a tradition derived from Abangah are still celebrated in some parts of Khorasan and Chahar Mahal Bakhtiyari province.
Sizdah-be-Dar (Outing on Farvardin the 13th):
Iranians have a traditional holiday on Farvardin 13th in which Iranians choose to leave their houses and spend some time in the nature. Since the number 13 is considered a bad omen in many cultures, the purpose of Sizdah-be-Dar is considered to release the negativity associated with this specific day of the month.
Because of the healing powers of nature and the purity for which most elements of nature are recognized including water and soil, spending this time in natural landscapes can relieve one from all physical and spiritual ailments and one can start the new year afresh.
One of the most interesting traditions in the Sizdah-be-Dar holiday is “Sabzeh Gereh Zadan” (tying greens together).
This specific tradition is suggested for young maidens who wish to marry in the new year or anyone else who has high hopes for the coming year and wants to see his/her wishes fulfilled. Farvardin 13th is also called the “Nature’s Day” to celebrate and safeguard nature for the coming generations.
Shabe Yalda (Yalda Night):
Yalda Night marks the longest night of the year which is celebrated on the last day of the month Azar which is celebrated between December 20th and 22nd.
Iranians celebrate the last day of autumn by staying up the entire night and gathering around their loved ones. Some traditions that usually take place on Yalda night, include Hafiz and Shahnameh Khani (reading the poetry of Hafiz and Ferdousi, two great poets of Iran).
Iranians throw a feast on this night by serving fruits, especially watermelons and pomegranates, and nuts. The main reason behind choosing these two types of fruits is their red color which reminds one of the colors of the sky at dawn and before sunrise indicating a new chapter of life.
On the last Wednesday of each year Iranians welcome the coming year by burning coal and wood. In ancient Persia, fire was considered a sacred element that was celebrated all around the year.
On Chahar-Shanbe Souri day, Iranians make large fires and try to jump off them as a tradition to benefit from the healing and purifying powers of fire.
Iranian Social and Political Events:
- Farvardin 12th marks the day on which the Islamic Republic of Iran was established and was officially recognized as the new government of Iran. Iranians celebrate their solidarity with their government and their supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, on this day.
- Farvardin 20th is the national day of Nuclear Technology. Iranians pride themselves on the advances they have made in using Nuclear Technology for producing energy soon when fossil fuels could no longer be used. This is the day to celebrate the accomplishments made in this field.
- Farvardin 25th marks the day of the celebration of the army and armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran. On this day, certain celebrations and marches are organized in the capital of Iran, Tehran, which is observed by the commander of the armed forces, the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei. Furthermore, special tribute is made to those who have lost their lives fighting for their country and their graveyards are visited.
- Ordibehesht 10th marks the fortieth day of Nowruz which is known as the Persian Gulf day. On this day, the Persian Gulf and its vast grasp on Persian history and culture are celebrated to remind the world that this gulf would always belong to its true owner, Iran.
- Ordibehesht 12th marks the day on which Morteza Motahari, one of the key figures of the Islamic Revolution, was martyred. In his honor, this day is called “Teachers’ Day” in which students all around the world pay tribute to those who have taught them the matters of science and life.
- Khordad 3rd marks the day in which Iranian forces derived the Iraqi forces out of Khoramshahr territories which marks the early events leading to the end of the Iran-Iraq war.
- Khordad 14th marks the day the leader of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeyni, passed away. On this day, Iranians pay tribute to their former leader.
- Khordad 15th marks the day Iranians rose against the former regime of Iran, the Pahlavi Regime, and voiced their opposition. Khordad 15th also marks Nature’s Universal Day which is June 5th.
- Tir 7th marks the day in which a terrorist attack was carried out against Ayatollah Beheshti and 72 members of his party and killed all of them. It is known as the “Judiciary System’s Day”.
- Mordad 28th is the day in which a coup was carried out against the former prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, by the government of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.
- Shahrivar 27th is the birthdate of the Iranian Poet Shahriar which is known as the Day of Celebration of Persian Literature.
- Aban 13th is known as Students’ Day.
- Dey 20th is the day the former Shah of Iran, Naser-al Din Shah ordered the assassination of his chief advisor, Amir Kabir.
- Bahman 12th marks the day the former leader of Iran, Imam Khomeini, returned to the country.
- Bahman 22nd marks the day in which the Islamic Revolution of Iran successfully overturned the former Pahlavi Regime.
- Esfand 15th marks the “Derakht-Kari Day” the day in which Iranians plant trees all over the country to maintain green life and help save the planet from climate change.
- Esfand 29th marks the day the movement of the former prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, succeeded in regaining the control of the Iranian oil industry which is officially called “The Nationalization of the Iranian Oil Day.”
Tasua va Ashura:
On the 9th and 10th day of Muharram in Iran, the first month of the Hijri calendar, Iranians mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hossein (to whom the highest praise is regarded) who was the third Shia Imam.
On the 10th day of Muharram, the historical battle of Ashura took place in which Imam Hossein and some of his followers were martyred in their attempt to gain back the Imam’s right to power.
Safar 20th marks the 40th day of the killing of Imam Hossein and his followers in the Ashura battle. Iranians visit Karbala on this specific day and some even travel to the holy shrine of Imam Hossein on foot to show their respect to His Holy Highness.
Birthdate of the last Holy Prophet of Islam:
Rajab 27th marks the birth date of the Holy Prophet of Islam, Mohammad, in which Iranians throw feasts and celebrate. Some even plan their wedding date on this special day since they believe starting their lives on the birth date of the holy prophet of Islam will bring blessings and prosperity to their lives.
On the 15th day of Shaban month, Iranians celebrated the birth date of the 12th Shia Imam, Mahdi, who is currently alive and will summon the world to his calling on the right day.
Ramadan: The ninth month of the Hijri calendar, Ramadan, is a month in which all Muslims around the world, including Iranians, start fasting. During this month reading the Holy Quran and keeping one’s soul pure as well as one’s stomach is highly recommended.