Abandoned Persian Holidays

In the ancient Iranian calendar, each day of the month had a proper name. When the name of the day coincided with the name of the month, a holiday was held. The most significant and popular of them was Mehregan, celebrated on the Day of Mithra, the 16th day of the 7th month of the Zoroastrian year, roughly October 8. For the ancient Iranians, the year was divided in two seasons. Nowruz was the first day of summer, while Mehregan ushered in the winter season. On Mehre-gan, a special table was laid with an incense burner, a copy of the Avesta, a mirror for self-reflection, water to symbolize the source of life, grains for prosperity, fruits, sweets, wine, coins, and

Iranians picnic on the slopes of the Soffeh Mountain in Esfahan during the Sizdah-be-Dar holiday.

candles. It was a community holiday, and blessings by a priest usually opened the celebrations.

Sedeh was a mid-winter celebration observed by the Zoroastrians. It included preparing a large bonfire for the purpose of driving back the winter and defying Ahriman. Sedeh was celebrated on two different dates, either on December 11 or January 24.

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