The Zoroastrian religious calendar

Submitted by Azarpadyavand on

The religious calendar is a matter of some controversy among Zoroastrians.
There are currently three main calendars in use: Fasli, Shahanshahi, and Qadimi. The oldest Zoroastrian calendar ('Old Avestan') was evidently a seasonal one, but it is not clear how it was kept in harmony with the seasons. In later years ('Younger Avesta' and Sasanian times) the prescribed method was to add a month every 120 years, but none of the three modern calendars follow this tradition. Cf. Denkard 3, chapter 419 and Bundahishn chapter 25.

  • FASLI ('seasonal'): A religious calendar
    which is kept in harmony with the seasons by intercalculating
    one day every four years, patterned after the Gregorian calendar.
    Naw Ruz (New Year's Day) is fixed on March 21.
  • SHAHANSHAHI (or Shenshai): The calendar of many Parsee Zoroastrians, including
    some of the more influential Dasturs (High Priests). It is based
    on a religious calendar which was theoretically synchronized with
    the seasons by intercalculating a month every 120 years, but the
    intercalculation was not consistently followed. Naw Ruz was observed
    on August 23, 1995. A recent proposal would reform the Shahanshahi
    calendar by bringing it back into harmony through the intercalculation
    of whole months.
  • QADIMI ('ancient'): In 1746 a group
    of priests and laymen in Surat adopted the Irani calendar on the
    assumption that it represented an older tradition. The Qadimi
    calendar is one month ahead of the Shahanshahi.

Each month and each day of the religious calendar is presided
over by a spiritual being; special prayers (from the Khorda Avesta)
are observed in honor of that spiritual being. Days where the
same spiritual being presides over both month and day (marked
with * in the table below) are particularly sacred.

See also Adarbad Mahraspandan's advice
on activities for each day of the month.

Names of the days and corresponding dates of observance per
Fasli calculations:

Mah (Month)
Roz (day) Frawardin Ardwahisht Hordad Tir Amurdad Shahrewar
Ohrmazd Mar21 Apr20 May20 Jun19 Jul19 Aug18
Vohuman Mar22 Apr21 May21 Jun20 Jul20 Aug19
Ardwahisht Mar23 r Apr22 * May22 Jun21 Jul21 Aug20
Shahrewar Mar24 Apr23 May23 Jun22 Jul22 Aug21 *
Spandarmad Mar25 Apr24 May24 Jun23 Jul23 Aug22
Hordad Mar26 Apr25 May25 * Jun24 Jul24 Aug23
Amurdad Mar27 Apr26 May26 Jun25 Jul25 * Aug24
Day-pa-Adar Mar28 Apr27 May27 Jun26 Jul26 Aug25
Adar Mar29 Apr28 May28 Jun27 Jul27 Aug26
Aban Mar30 Apr29 May29 Jun28 Jul28 Aug27
Khwarshed Mar31 Apr30 g May30 Jun29 g Jul29 Aug28
Mah Apr1 May1 May31 Jun30 Jul30 Aug29
Tir/Tishtar Apr2 May2 Jun1 Jul1 * Jul31 Aug30
Goshorun Apr3 May3 Jun2 Jul2 Aug1 Aug31
Day-pa-Mihr Apr4 May4 Jun3 Jul3 Aug2 Sep1
Mihr Apr5 May5 Jun4 Jul4 Aug3 Sep2
Srosh Apr6 May6 Jun5 Jul5 Aug4 Sep3
Rashnu Apr7 May7 Jun6 Jul6 Aug5 Sep4
Frawardin Apr8 * May8 Jun7 Jul7 Aug6 Sep5
Warharan Apr9 May9 Jun8 Jul8 Aug7 Sep6
Ram Apr10 May10 Jun9 Jul9 Aug8 Sep7
Wad, Gowad Apr11 May11 Jun10 Jul10 Aug9 Sep8
Day-pa-Den Apr12 May12 Jun11 Jul11 Aug10 Sep9
Den Apr13 May13 Jun12 Jul12 Aug11 Sep10
Ard Apr14 May14 Jun13 Jul13 Aug12 Sep11
Ashtad Apr15 May15 Jun14 Jul14 Aug13 Sep12 g
Asman Apr16 May16 Jun15 Jul15 Aug14 Sep13
Zam Apr17 May17 Jun16 Jul16 Aug15 Sep14
Mahraspand Apr18 May18 Jun17 Jul17 Aug16 Sep15
Anagran Apr19 May19 Jun18 Jul18 Aug17 Sep16
Mah (Month)
Roz (day) Mihr Aban Adar Day Vohuman Spandarmad
Ohrmazd Sep17 Oct17 Nov16 Dec16 * Jan15 Feb14
Vohuman Sep18 Oct18 Nov17 Dec17 Jan16 * Feb15
Ardwahisht Sep19 Oct19 Nov18 Dec18 Jan17 Feb16
Shahrewar Sep20 Oct20 Nov19 Dec19 Jan18 Feb17
Spandarmad Sep21 Oct21 Nov20 Dec20 Jan19 Feb18 *
Hordad Sep22 Oct22 Nov21 Dec21 Jan20 Feb19
Amurdad Sep23 Oct23 Nov22 Dec22 Jan21 Feb20
Day-pa-Adar Sep24 Oct24 Nov23 Dec23 * Jan22 Feb21
Adar Sep25 Oct25 Nov24 * Dec24 Jan23 Feb22
Aban Sep26 Oct26 * Nov25 Dec25 Jan24 s Feb23
Khwarshed Sep27 Oct27 Nov26 Dec26 Jan25 Feb24
Mah Sep28 Oct28 Nov27 Dec27 Jan26 Feb25
Tir/Tishtar Sep29 Oct29 Nov28 Dec28 Jan27 Feb26
Goshorun Sep30 Oct30 Nov29 Dec29 Jan28 Feb27
Day-pa-Mihr Oct1 Oct31 Nov30 Dec30 * Jan29 Feb28
Mihr Oct2 * Nov1 Dec1 Dec31 g Jan30 Mar1
Srosh Oct3 Nov2 Dec2 Jan1 Jan31 Mar2
Rashnu Oct4 Nov3 Dec3 Jan2 Feb1 Mar3
Frawardin Oct5 Nov4 Dec4 Jan3 Feb2 Mar4
Warharan Oct6 Nov5 Dec5 Jan4 Feb3 Mar5
Ram Oct7 Nov6 Dec6 Jan5 Feb4 Mar6
Wad, Gowad Oct8 Nov7 Dec7 Jan6 Feb5 Mar7
Day-pa-Den Oct9 Nov8 Dec8 Jan7 * Feb6 Mar8
Den Oct10 Nov9 Dec9 Jan8 Feb7 Mar9
Ard Oct11 Nov10 Dec10 Jan9 Feb8 Mar10
Ashtad Oct12 g Nov11 Dec11 Jan10 Feb9 Mar11
Asman Oct13 Nov12 Dec12 Jan11 Feb10 Mar12
Zam Oct14 Nov13 Dec13 Jan12 Feb11 Mar13
Mahraspand Oct15 Nov14 Dec14 Jan13 Feb12 Mar14
Anagran Oct16 r Nov15 Dec15 Jan14 Feb13 Mar15


* = Name day feasts

r = Rapithwina begins Mar 23 ends Oct 16

s = Festival of Sadeh (Jashan-e Sadeh)

g = Gahambars ('feasts'):

1992-5 1996-9 2005-8
Maidyozarem ('mid-spring' feast): 
F: Apr30-May4 Apr30-May4 Apr30-May4
S: Oct2-6 Oct1-5 Sep29-Oct3
Q: Sep2-6 Sep1-5 Aug30-Sep3
Maidyoshahem ('mid-summer' feast): F: Jun29-Jul3 Jun29-Jul3 Jun29-Jul3 S: Dec1-5 Nov30-Dec4 Nov28-Dec2 Q: Nov1-5 Oct31-Nov4 Oct29-Nov2
Paitishahem (feast of 'bringing in the harvest'): F: Sep12-16 Sep12-16 Sep12-16 S: Feb15-19 Feb14-18 Feb11-15 Q: Jan16-20 Jan15-19 Jan12-16
Ayathrem ('bringing home the herds'): F: Oct12-16 Oct12-16 Oct12-16 S: Mar15-19 Mar14-18 Mar13-17 Q: Feb15-19 Feb14-18 Feb11-15
Maidyarem ('mid-year'/winter feast): F: Dec31-Jan4 Dec31-Jan4 Dec31-Jan4 S: Jun4-8 Jun3-7 Jun1-5 Q: May5-9 May4-8 May2-6
Hamaspathmaidyem ('coming of the whole group [of farohars]', feast of All Souls): F: Mar16-20 Mar16-20 Mar16-20 S: Aug18-22 Aug17-21 Aug15-19 Q: Jul19-23 Jul18-22 Jul16-20 - Ahunawad - Ushtawad - Spentomad - Wohukhshathra - Wahishtoisht (Parsi Mukhtad adds 5 days to beginning)
Noruz ('New Year's Day') F: Mar21 Mar21 Mar21 S: Aug23 Aug22 Aug20 Q: Jul24 Jul23 Jul21

Watches (gahs) of the day:

Many prayers are altered according to the time of day.

  • Hawan (sunrise to noon)
  • Rapithwin or Second Hawan (noon to 3 p.m.)
  • Uzerin (3 p.m. to sunset)
  • Aiwisruthrem (sunset to midnight)
  • Ushahin (midnight to sunrise)

Important festivals

  • Gahambars
    • Maidyozarem ('mid-spring' feast)
    • Maidyoshahem ('mid-summer' feast)
    • Paitishahem (feast of 'bringing in the harvest')
    • Ayathrem ('bringing home the herds')
    • Maidyarem ('mid-year'/winter feast)
  • Hamaspathmaidyem (feast of 'All Souls')
  • Noruz (New Years)
  • Jashan-e Mihragan
  • Jashan-e Tiragan
  • Jashan-e Sadeh

Significance of the names

The first seven days celebrate Ahura Mazda and the Amesha Spentas, (lit. Beneficent Immortals) sometimes called the Archangels. They are the highest spiritual beings created by Ahura Mazda.

1. Ohrmazd (Av. Ahura Mazda) The Lord of Wisdom, Zarathushtra's name for God
2. Vohuman (Av. Vohu Mano) Good Mind or Purpose. Presides over animals.
3. Ardwahisht (Av. Asha Vahishta) Highest Asha. Presides over fire.
4. Shahrewar (Av. Khshathra Vairya) 'Desirable Dominion'. Presides over metals.
5. Spandarmad (Av. Spenta Armaiti) Holy (or Beneficent) Devotion. Presides over the Earth.
6. Hordad (Av. Haurvatat) Wholeness (Perfection or Health). Presides over the
7. Amurdad (Av. Ameretat) Immortality or Life. Presides over plants.

The second week celebrates LIGHT and NATURE:

8. Day-pa-Adar (Av. Dadvah) The Creator's day before Adar.
9. Adar (Av. Atar) Fire
10. Aban (Av. Aban) Waters
11. Khwarshed (Av. Hvar Khshaeta) The Shining Sun
12. Mah (Av. Mah) The Moon
13. Tishtar (Av. Tishtrya) The Star Sirius, brightest star in the heavens
14. Gosh (Av. Geush) Sentient Life or the Ox-Soul

The third week celebrates moral qualities:

15. Day-pa-Mihr (Av. Dadvah) The day of the Creator before Mithra
16. Mihr (Av. Mithra) Yazad of the Contract
17. Srosh (Av. Sraosha) Yazad of 'Hearkening', i.e. paying attention
18. Rashnu (Av. Rashnu) Yazad of Truth
19. Frawardin (Av. Fravashis) The Guardian Angels
20. Warharan (Av. Verethraghna) Victory, Triumph over evil
21. Ram (Av. Raman) Peace, Joy
22. Gowad (Av. Vata) Wind, atmosphere

The fourth week celebrates religious ideas:

23. Day-pa-Den (Av. Dadvah) The day of the Creator before Den
24. Den (Av. Daena) Religion, also Inner Self or Conscience
25. Ashi (Av. Ashi) Blessings or Rewards
26. Ashtad (Av. Arshtat) Rectitude, Justice
27. Asman (Av. Asman) Sky
28. Zam (Av. Zam) Earth
29. Mahraspand (Av. Mathra Spenta) Holy Word (Manthra), also specific sections of
scripture with certain poetic and spiritual properties
30. Anagran (Av. Anaghra Raocha) Endless Light