Sepandārmazgān (Persian: سپندارمذگان) or Esfandegān (اسفندگان) is an ancient Iranian festival with Zoroastrian roots dating back to the Achaemenid Empire, the first Persian Empire. This festival is widely known as the Persian Day of Love, although it is celebrated in its neighboring Persian-speaking countries as well such as Afghanistan and Tajikistan. This day is dedicated to Spənta Ārmaiti (Avestan for "Holy Devotion", Spandārmad in Middle Persian, Persian: سپندارمذ Spendārmad or Sepandarmaz), the Amesha Spenta who is given the domain of "earth". The date of the festival as observed in the Sassanid era was on the 5th day of the month Spandarmad. When the name of the day and the month of the day were the same, a "name-feast" celebration was always done. According to the testimony of al-Biruni, in the 11th century CE there was a festival when the names of the day and the month were the same. The deity Spandarmad protected the Earth and the "good, chaste and beneficent wife who loves her husband". According to him, the festival used to be dedicated to women, and men would make them "liberal presents", and the custom was still flourishing in some districts of Fahla.
The jashn-e barzegarán (Festival of Agriculturists), is celebrated in Iran also on the 5th day of Spandarmad month (the Spandarmad day). People pray for good harvest, honor the deity of Earth Spandārmad, and put signs on doors to destroy evil spirits.
The observation of this festival has been revived in modern Iran, where it is mostly set on the 5th day of Esfand in the Solar Hejri calendar introduced in 1925, corresponding to 24 February.[contradictory] The modern festival is a celebration day of love towards mothers and wives.
|“||On the 5th day or Isfahdmah-Roz (day of Isfand), there is a feast on account of the identity of the names of the month and the day. Isfandarmah is charged with the care of the earth and with that the good, chaste, and beneficient wife who loves her husband. In the past times, this was a special feast of the women, when the men used to make them liberal presents. This custom is still flourishing in Ispahan, Ray, and in other districts of Fahla. In Persian it is called Mardgiran.||”|
Furthermore, Biruni notes that on this day, commoners ate raisins and pomegranate seeds. According to Gardizi, this celebration was special for women, and they called this day also mard-giran (possessing of men).
The date of the modern festival is the 29th of Bahman (18 February) due to the reorganization of the Iranian calendar, once by Omar Khayyam in the 11th century, and once again in 1925.[clarification needed]
- M. Boyce, "Textual sources for the study of Zoroastrianism", University of Chicago Press, 1990. pp. 19–20
- Boyce, 1990, p. 69
- Sarah Iles Johnston (2004), Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide, Harvard University Press Reference Library (illustrated ed.), Harvard University Press, p. 284, ISBN 9780674015173
- The Chronology Of Ancient Nations, trans.Edward Sachau. London: Elibron Classics, 2005
- مجموعه مقالات آناهیتا (Anahita Proceedings), Tehran University Publications, 1962 (1342), p 165.