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The Mandaean calendar is a 365-day solar calendar used by the Mandaean people. It consists of twelve 30-day months, with five extra days at the end of Šumbulta (the 8th month). The Parwanaya (or Panja) festival takes place during those five days. There is no leap year therefore every four years all Mandaean dates (like beginnings of the months or festivals) move one day back with respect to the Gregorian calendar.
Each month is named after a constellation (manzalta). The Mandaic names of the 12 constellations of the Zodiac are derived from Aramaic common roots. As with the seven planets, overall the 12 constellations, frequently known as the trisar (Classical Mandaic: ࡕࡓࡉࡎࡀࡓ, "The Twelve") or trisar malwašia ("Twelve Constellations") in Mandaean scriptures, are generally not viewed favorably in Mandaeism, since they constitute part of the entourage of Ruha, the Queen of the World of Darkness who is also their mother.
|Order of month||Constellation||Mandaic name||Mandaic script|
Each month consists of exactly 30 days. The Parwanaya festival comes between the 8th month (Šumbulta) and 9th month (Qaina) to make up for 5 extra days in the solar calendar.
Due to a lack of a leap year included in the Mandaean calendar, dates change by one day every four years with respect to the Gregorian calendar. Currently, for example in 2022 CE, Sartana meaning Cancer corresponds to December / January in the Gregorian calendar instead of June / July.
Days and hours
The hours of the day are counted starting at dawn (ṣipra),: 75 although Mandaeans formerly counted the hours of the day starting at sunset or evening (paina). In Mandaic, a 24-hour day is known as a yuma, daytime as ʿumama, and nighttime as lilia.
Some days are considered to be auspicious, while others are ominous (mbaṭṭal).
The days of the week are as follows. Habšaba (Sunday) is considered to be the first day of the week.
|Day of the week||English||Mandaic||Hebrew|
|1||Sunday||Habšaba (ࡄࡀࡁࡔࡀࡁࡀ)||Yom Rishon|
|2||Monday||Trin Habšaba||Yom Sheni|
|3||Tuesday||Tlata Habšaba||Yom Shlishi|
|4||Wednesday||Arba Habšaba||Yom Revii|
|5||Thursday||Hamša Habšaba||Yom Hamishi|
|6||Friday||Yuma d-Rahatia||Yom Shishi|
|7||Saturday||Yuma d-Šafta (Shabta)||Yom Shabbat|
The four seasons are as follows, with the year starting with winter:
- sitwa (winter)
- abhar (spring)
- giṭa (summer)
- paiz (autumn)
The Mandaean calendar is calculated from the year that Adam was born, or approximately 443,370 BCE. Charles G. Häberl calculates the date 18 July 2019 CE corresponds to 1 Dowla 481,343 AA (AA = after the creation of Adam).
All Mandaean years consist of exactly 365 days (12 regular months of 30 days each, plus the 5 intercalary days of the Parwanaya). Since Mandaean months do not have leap years accounted for every four years, seasons "slip back" and will not correspond to the same Gregorian months over time.
According to Book 18 of the Right Ginza, there are four epochs (or eras) of the world, which is given a duration of 480,000 years.
- Epoch of Adam and Hawa: 1st generation of humans (216,000 years; 30 generations according to Right Ginza Book 1)
- Epoch of Ram and Rud: 2nd generation of humans (156,000 years; 25 generations according to Right Ginza Book 1)
- Epoch of Šurbai and Šarhabʿil: 3rd generation of humans (100,000 years; 15 generations according to Right Ginza Book 1)
- Epoch of Noah and his wife Nuraita/Nhuraita (current and final epoch): 4th generation of humans (remaining years, which would be 8,000 years if taking the 480,000 years into account)
Mandaean festivals are:
- Parwanaya: Five days that Hayyi Rabbi created the angels and the universe. The 5 epagomenals (extra days) inserted at the end of every Šumbulta (the 8th month) constitute the Parwanaya intercalary feast.
- Dehwa Daimana or Dehwa Daymaneh (Dihba ḏ-Yamana, Dihba Daimana, or Dihba Rba ḏ-Daima): Birthday of John the Baptist. Children are baptized for the first time during this festival.: 28
- Kanshiy u-Zahly: New Year's Eve
- Dehwa Rabba: New Year's Day
- Dehwa d-Šišlam Rabba (Classical Mandaic: ࡃࡉࡄࡁࡀ ࡖࡔࡉࡔࡋࡀࡌ ࡓࡁࡀ) or Nauruz Zūṭa (Classical Mandaic: ࡍࡀࡅࡓࡅࡆ ࡆࡅࡈࡀ): Little New Year, on the 6th-7th days of Daula, corresponding to Epiphany in Christianity. The Night of Power takes place on the night of the 6th day (similar to Qadr Night), during which the heavenly gates of Abatur are open to the faithful. Priests visit Mandaean households and give them myrtle wreaths to hang on their houses for the rest of the year to protect against evil. The households also donate alms to the priests.
- Dehwa Hanina (Classical Mandaic: ࡃࡉࡄࡁࡀ ࡄࡀࡍࡉࡍࡀ, romanized: Dihba Hanina) or Dehwa Ṭurma (Dihba ḏ-Tirma): the Little Feast, begins on the 18th day of Taura. This holiday commemorates the ascension of Hibil Ziwa from the underworld to the Lightworld. The feast lasts for three days. On the first day, Mandaean families visit each other and have a special breakfast of rice, yogurt, and dates. Baptisms are performed, and the dead are commemorated with lofani (ritual meals).
- Ead Fel: Crushed dates with roasted sesame seeds are eaten.
- Day of remembrance: Day of remembrance for the drowned people of Noah's flood. Grains and cereals are eaten. Mandaeans believe that on this day, Noah and his son Sam made the food of forgiveness of sins for the souls of those who died in the flood. The food of forgiveness consists of seven grains representing the seven days of the week, and from the grounding of these seven grains came the name Abu Al-Harees. (See Ashure or Noah's pudding.)
Below is an example of a calendar year for the Mandaean year 445375, which corresponds to the Gregorian calendar years 2005–2006 or Jewish calendar year 5766 (Gelbert 2005: 274). Fasting (Classical Mandaic: ࡑࡀࡅࡌࡀ, romanized: ṣauma) is practiced on some days.
|No.||Mandaean month||Gregorian month||Festival(s)|
|1||Dowla||July / August||1st and 2nd day of Dowla: the New Year – Dehwa Rabba|
6th and 7th day of Dowla: festival of Šišlam Rabba (festival of trees). Eating meat, fish and eggs is not permitted.
|2||Nuna||August / September||25th of Nuna: light fasting|
|3||Ambero||September / October|
|4||Towra||October / November||1st of Toura: Memorial Day (Ead Fel)|
2nd, 3rd, and 4th of Toura: light fasting
18th of Towra: Dehwa Hanina (celebration of the completed creation)
|5||Selmi||November / December|
|6||Saratana||December / January||1st of Saratana: Noah returned to dry land (Ashoriya)|
9th of Saratana: light fasting
15th of Saratana: light fasting
23rd of Saratana: light fasting
|7||Aria||January / February|
|8||Shumbolta||February / March||From 26th to 30th of Shumbolta: full fasting|
|(Panja)||(Panja)||Panja or Parwanaya – 5 intercalary days: days of remembrance (or "days without night"). Single and group baptizing (masbuta) is permitted. Eating bread with yeast is not allowed.|
|9||Qina||March / April||1st of Qina: light fasting|
|10||Arqwa||April / May|
|11||Heṭia||May / June||1st of Heṭia: Dehwa Daimana (birthday of Yehya Yehanna).|
|12||Gadia||June / July||28th and 29th of Gadia: light fasting|
30th of Gadia (New Year's Eve): Kanshiy u-Zahly (cleaning and washing the whole household, baptism and buying new clothes). At sunset, Mandaeans will close their doors and stay inside for 36 hours to commemorate the assembly of the angels in heaven.
Below are some Mandaean holiday dates for 2023:
- March 16-20 – Parwanaya
- May 20 – Dehwa Daymaneh
- July 19 – Kanshiy u-Zahly
- July 20-21 – Dehwa Rabba
- November 2 – Dehwa Hanina
- December 17 – Ashoriya (Abu Al Haris)
- ^ a b Drower, Ethel Stefana. The Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran. Oxford At The Clarendon Press, 1937.
- ^ a b c d e f Aldihisi, Sabah (2008). The story of creation in the Mandaean holy book in the Ginza Rba (PhD). University College London.
- ^ Häberl, Charles G. (Spring 2017). "The Origin and Meaning of Mandaic". Journal of Semitic Studies. Oxford University Press. 62 (1). doi:10.1093/jss/fg?000.
- ^ a b c d Nasoraia, Brikha H.S. (2021). The Mandaean gnostic religion: worship practice and deep thought. New Delhi: Sterling. ISBN 978-81-950824-1-4. OCLC 1272858968.
- ^ Bhayro, Siam (2020-02-10). Cosmology in Mandaean Texts. Brill. pp. 572–579. doi:10.1163/9789004400566_046. Retrieved 2021-09-03.
- ^ a b Gelbert, Carlos (2005). The Mandaeans and the Jews. Edensor Park, NSW: Living Water Books. ISBN 0-9580346-2-1. OCLC 68208613.
- ^ a b Häberl, Charles (2021-01-07). "The Mandaean Day". Academia Letters. doi:10.20935/al122.
- ^ Buckley, Jorunn Jacobsen (2002). The Mandaeans: ancient texts and modern people. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515385-5. OCLC 65198443.
- ^ Charles G. Häberl (13 January 2021). "Of Calendars—and Kings—and Why the Winter is Boiling Hot". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 31: 535-544.
- ^ Lidzbarski, Mark (1925). Ginza: Der Schatz oder Das große Buch der Mandäer. Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht.
- ^ Gelbert, Carlos (2011). Ginza Rba. Sydney: Living Water Books. ISBN 9780958034630.
- ^ "Mandaean Calendar". Mandaean Synod of Australia. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
- ^ "Mandaean calendar". Mandaean Synod of Australia. 2013-12-22. Retrieved 2023-01-11.
- Mandaean calendar from the Mandaean Synod of Australia