The 12 Months of the Zoroastrian Calendar: Meanings and Origins

Have you ever wondered about the meaning and origins behind the 12 months of the Zoroastrian calendar? This article aims to delve into the depths of this ancient calendar system, providing an objective and thorough analysis of each month, from Farvardin to Esfand.

By exploring the historical context and cultural significance of each month, we will shed light on the rich traditions and beliefs that shape the Zoroastrian calendar.

Join us on this enlightening journey as we uncover the mysteries of time in Zoroastrianism.

Key Takeaways

  • The 12 months of the Zoroastrian calendar have specific meanings and origins, representing different aspects of nature, spirituality, and cultural significance.
  • Each month is associated with unique symbols and themes, such as the transition from winter to spring, fertility and abundance, truth and righteousness, physical and spiritual well-being, and the importance of agriculture.
  • Festivals and traditions are celebrated throughout the calendar year, including Mehregan, Mehr, Aban, Azar, and Sizdah Be-dar, which involve rituals, prayers, community gatherings, and the honoring of divinities and natural elements.
  • Specific months like Bahman, Azar, and Esfand hold religious and cultural significance, symbolizing victory and triumph, fire and purification, and healing and rejuvenation. These months are marked by special rituals, prayers, and cultural celebrations.


Farvardin, the first month of the Zoroastrian calendar, is significant for its association with new beginnings and the celebration of the Persian New Year, Nowruz. This month holds great symbolic meaning for Zoroastrians, as it represents the start of a new cycle and the renewal of life.

The name ‘Farvardin’ is derived from the Avestan word ‘Fravashi,’ which refers to the divine guardian spirits of individuals and communities.

The origins of the month of Farvardin can be traced back to ancient Persia. It was during the Achaemenid Empire that the Zoroastrian calendar was established, and Farvardin was designated as the first month. The Achaemenids considered Farvardin as a month of great importance, as it marked the beginning of the agricultural season and the transition from winter to spring.

In addition to its agricultural significance, Farvardin is also associated with the Zoroastrian concept of ‘Frashokereti,’ which means ‘making wonderful.’ This concept encompasses the belief in the eventual triumph of good over evil and the ultimate renovation and perfection of the world.

Overall, Farvardin holds deep symbolic meaning for Zoroastrians, representing new beginnings, renewal, and the hope for a better future. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Persia, where it was celebrated as the month of transition and agricultural prosperity.


Ordibehesht, which follows Farvardin in the Zoroastrian calendar, is another significant month that is associated with the blossoming of nature and the celebration of fertility and abundance. This month holds great symbolic meaning for the Zoroastrian community and carries cultural significance in their religious and social practices.

The name ‘Ordibehesht’ is derived from the Avestan language, where ‘Ordibehesht’ translates to ‘perfect creation’ or ‘the best of creation.’ This name reflects the belief in the Zoroastrian faith that Ordibehesht is a time when the world is at its most beautiful and abundant state, as nature flourishes and brings forth new life. It is a time of joy and celebration, as people appreciate the blessings of nature and the fertility that it brings.

Culturally, Ordibehesht is celebrated with various rituals and festivities. People engage in gardening and agricultural activities, symbolizing their connection to the earth and the importance of nurturing and sustaining life. It is common to see colorful flowers and plants adorning homes and public spaces during this month, representing the vibrant beauty of nature.

Furthermore, Ordibehesht is also associated with the goddess Ardvi Sura Anahita, who is considered the personification of fertility, abundance, and purity. Devotees pay homage to her through prayers and offerings, seeking her blessings for prosperity and well-being.


The celebration of Khordad, a significant month in the Zoroastrian calendar, includes rituals and gatherings that honor the teachings and principles of the faith. Khordad, also known as Ardibehesht, holds great symbolic significance within the Zoroastrian community.

Here are four key aspects of the cultural traditions of Khordad:

  1. Commemorating the birth of Prophet Zoroaster: Khordad marks the birth anniversary of Prophet Zoroaster, the founder of the Zoroastrian religion. Followers gather at fire temples and offer prayers, recite hymns, and engage in acts of charity to honor his teachings.

  2. Paying homage to the divine elements: Zoroastrians believe in the power of natural elements, and Khordad is a time to honor these elements. Water, in particular, is revered as a purifying force. Rituals involving the pouring of water are performed to cleanse the body and soul.

  3. Celebrating the principles of Asha: Asha, meaning truth and righteousness, is a fundamental principle of Zoroastrianism. During Khordad, followers reflect on Asha and strive to live their lives in accordance with its values.

  4. Strengthening community bonds: Khordad is a time for Zoroastrians to come together as a community. Special gatherings and feasts are organized, allowing followers to connect with one another and reinforce their shared faith.

Through these cultural traditions, Khordad serves as a reminder of the teachings and principles that guide the Zoroastrian way of life.


Many Zoroastrians celebrate Amordad by performing rituals and engaging in acts of worship to honor the teachings and principles of their faith. Amordad is the fifth month of the Zoroastrian calendar and holds significant symbolism and historical importance for the followers of this ancient religion.

The name ‘Amordad’ is derived from the Avestan word ‘Amərətāt,’ meaning immortality. This month represents the divine essence of eternity and serves as a reminder for Zoroastrians to strive for spiritual immortality through righteous actions and virtuous deeds.

Amordad is associated with the Amesha Spenta, specifically the divinity Haurvatat. Haurvatat represents wholeness, health, and perfection. During this month, Zoroastrians focus on maintaining physical and spiritual well-being by engaging in acts of charity, prayer, and self-reflection.

Historically, Amordad was also dedicated to the goddess of rain and fertility, Anahita. Zoroastrians would celebrate this month by offering prayers for abundant harvests, replenishment of water sources, and blessings of fertility.

Today, Zoroastrians continue to honor the symbolism and historical significance of Amordad by observing its rituals and teachings. They seek to embody the ideals of immortality, health, and prosperity in their daily lives, striving to create a harmonious and virtuous existence.


Interestingly, Shahrivar, the sixth month of the Zoroastrian calendar, is associated with the divinity Mithra and signifies strength and courage. Shahrivar holds significant symbolism and cultural traditions within the Zoroastrian community.

  1. Celebrations: During Shahrivar, Zoroastrians celebrate the festival of Mehregan, dedicated to the divinity Mithra. This festival is marked by feasting, dancing, and offering prayers for abundance and prosperity.

  2. Symbolism: Shahrivar represents the transition from summer to autumn, symbolizing the changing seasons and the cycle of life. It embodies the qualities of bravery, valor, and resilience, encouraging individuals to face challenges with courage and determination.

  3. Cultural Traditions: Zoroastrians celebrate Shahrivar by engaging in acts of charity and helping those in need. They also pay homage to Mithra through rituals and prayers, seeking blessings for strength and protection.

  4. Festive Activities: During Shahrivar, Zoroastrians participate in various activities that promote unity and community bonding. These include organizing traditional games, storytelling sessions, and cultural performances that showcase the rich heritage of the Zoroastrian community.

Shahrivar’s cultural significance and symbolism highlight the importance of strength and courage in facing life’s challenges. Through its celebrations and traditions, Shahrivar fosters a sense of unity and resilience among the Zoroastrian community.


Mehr is the seventh month of the Zoroastrian calendar, falling between the months of Shahrivar and Aban.

This month holds significant symbolic meaning in the Zoroastrian faith, representing love, friendship, and the pursuit of truth.

The origins of the name ‘Mehr’ can be traced back to the ancient Persian goddess of love and fertility, also known as Anahita.

Symbolic Significance of Mehr

The symbolic significance of Mehr becomes evident when examining its role in the Zoroastrian calendar, as it represents the transition from summer to autumn. This month holds a deep cultural significance for Zoroastrians, with its celebrations and rituals reflecting the values and beliefs of the community.

  1. Harvest Festival: Mehr is associated with the harvest season, marking the time when crops are gathered and stored for the coming winter. The celebrations involve offering thanks to the divine for the bountiful harvest and seeking blessings for the upcoming year.

  2. Spiritual Renewal: Mehr is also seen as a time of spiritual renewal, as it signifies the transition from the bright and active summer months to the more introspective and contemplative autumn. It is a time for self-reflection, prayer, and repentance.

  3. Symbolic Meaning: Mehr symbolizes the balance between light and darkness, warmth and coldness. It represents the cyclical nature of life and the constant change and renewal that occurs in the world.

  4. Community Bonding: The celebrations of Mehr bring the Zoroastrian community together, strengthening social bonds and fostering a sense of unity and belonging. It is a time when families and friends come together to share meals, exchange gifts, and participate in religious ceremonies.

Origins of Mehr Month

One of the key aspects of understanding the origins of Mehr month lies in exploring its historical context and the cultural practices associated with the transition from summer to autumn.

Mehr holds a significant role in Zoroastrian rituals and has deep connections to ancient Persian mythology. In Zoroastrianism, Mehr is considered the sixth month of the calendar and is associated with the harvest season. It is believed to be a time of abundance and prosperity, as it marks the end of summer and the beginning of autumn.

Mehr is also associated with the goddess Mithra, who represents the sun, light, and truth. Mithra was a central figure in ancient Persian mythology and her worship was an integral part of Zoroastrian rituals during the month of Mehr.

Understanding the cultural practices and mythological significance allows for a deeper understanding of the origins of Mehr month in the Zoroastrian calendar.


Although Aban is the eighth month in the Zoroastrian calendar, its significance as the month of water and fertility is highly revered in Zoroastrianism. Aban, also known as Aparan, holds great symbolic meaning in the Zoroastrian faith. Here are some cultural traditions associated with the month of Aban:

  1. Celebration of Water: Aban is considered the month of water, representing purity and life-giving properties. Zoroastrians celebrate this by performing rituals near water bodies, such as rivers or wells, to honor the importance of water in sustaining life.

  2. Fertility Rituals: Aban is also associated with fertility and abundance. During this month, Zoroastrians engage in rituals and prayers to seek blessings for fertility, both in terms of crops and personal growth.

  3. Offerings to the Deity: Zoroastrians make offerings to the deity associated with Aban, known as Anahita, the goddess of water, fertility, and healing. These offerings often include flowers, fruits, and water, symbolizing the nourishment and life-giving properties associated with the month.

  4. Renewal and Purification: Aban is seen as a time of renewal and purification. Zoroastrians engage in cleansing rituals, both physically and spiritually, to purify themselves and prepare for the upcoming season.


As we delve into the significance of Azar in the Zoroastrian calendar, it is important to understand the cultural customs and rituals associated with this month.

Azar is the ninth month of the Zoroastrian calendar, which is based on the ancient Persian calendar. It falls between November and December in the Gregorian calendar.

Azar is a month that is associated with the element of fire in Zoroastrianism, and it holds great importance in the cultural traditions of the Zoroastrian community. One of the key customs observed during Azar is the celebration of the festival of Sadeh. Sadeh, which means ‘hundred’ in Persian, is an ancient festival that commemorates the discovery of fire and the triumph of light over darkness. During this festival, bonfires are lit, and prayers are offered to honor the fire as a symbol of purity and divine presence.

In addition to the cultural traditions, Azar also holds religious significance as it precedes the month of Esfand, which is associated with religious rituals in the Zoroastrian calendar. Esfand is the twelfth and final month of the year in the Zoroastrian calendar and is considered a time for purification and preparation for the coming year. It is during this month that the festival of Sizdah Bedar is celebrated, where people gather in nature to welcome spring and cleanse themselves of any impurities.


Bahman, the eleventh month of the Zoroastrian calendar, is associated with the festival of Jashan-e-Sadeh, where followers gather to celebrate the eternal flame and reflect on the triumph of light over darkness. This month holds a significant place in the Zoroastrian community, and its symbolism and cultural traditions are deeply rooted in their beliefs and practices.

Symbolism of Bahman:

  • Bahman represents the concept of victory and triumph, symbolizing the eternal battle between good and evil.
  • It signifies the victory of light over darkness, righteousness over wickedness, and truth over falsehood.
  • The festival of Jashan-e-Sadeh is a symbolic representation of this triumph, where followers light bonfires and offer prayers to honor the eternal flame.

Cultural Traditions of Bahman:

  • During Jashan-e-Sadeh, Zoroastrians gather around a central fire, which symbolizes the eternal flame worshipped in their faith.
  • They engage in prayers, hymns, and rituals to express gratitude for the blessings of light and to seek protection from darkness.
  • The festival also includes feasting and sharing food, symbolizing unity and community.

Bahman holds a special place in the hearts of Zoroastrians, as it reminds them of the eternal flame and the victory of light over darkness. Through their cultural traditions, they celebrate this symbolism and strengthen their faith in the triumph of good over evil.


Esfand is the twelfth month of the Zoroastrian calendar and holds great significance and symbolism in Zoroastrianism.

This month is associated with the element of fire and is believed to be a time of purification and renewal.

Esfand is also marked by cultural celebrations such as the festival of Sizdah Be-dar, where people gather outdoors to enjoy nature and symbolically throw away their troubles.

Esfand’s Significance and Symbolism

One of the most intriguing aspects of the current discussion surrounds the unique significance and symbolism associated with the twelfth month of the Zoroastrian Calendar, Esfand. This month holds great cultural and religious importance for followers of the Zoroastrian faith.

Cultural Traditions: Esfand is a time when Zoroastrians engage in various cultural traditions. These may include feasting, dancing, and participating in community gatherings.

Religious Rituals: Esfand is also a month filled with religious rituals. Zoroastrians may perform prayers, make offerings, and visit fire temples to seek blessings and protection.

Symbolism: Esfand is associated with purification and warding off evil. It is believed to be a month of healing and rejuvenation, both physically and spiritually.

Festivals: In some regions, Esfand is celebrated with vibrant festivals, such as the Jashn-e-Esfandgan. These festivals involve music, dancing, and the burning of bonfires to symbolize the triumph of light over darkness.

Overall, Esfand holds a special place in the hearts of Zoroastrians, as it embodies their cultural traditions and religious beliefs.

Esfand’s Role in Zoroastrianism

The significance of Esfand in Zoroastrianism is evident in the cultural traditions, religious rituals, and symbolism associated with this particular month in the Zoroastrian calendar.

Esfand, the twelfth month of the Zoroastrian calendar, holds a special place in the religious practices of Zoroastrians. During this month, various rituals are performed to ward off evil spirits and promote good fortune. One such ritual is the burning of esfand seeds, believed to have protective properties. These seeds are often burned in the homes and workplaces of Zoroastrians to cleanse the environment.

Esfand’s influence on daily life is also seen through the emphasis placed on moral and ethical behavior during this month. Zoroastrians strive to engage in acts of charity, kindness, and harmony to foster a sense of spiritual growth and community well-being.

Overall, Esfand plays a vital role in shaping the religious and cultural practices of Zoroastrians, reinforcing their commitment to righteousness and the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment.

Esfand’s Cultural Celebrations

During Esfand’s cultural celebrations, various traditional rituals and festivities are organized to honor the significance of this month in Zoroastrianism. Esfand, the twelfth and final month of the Zoroastrian calendar, holds great importance in the religion.

Here are four traditional customs and festive traditions observed during Esfand’s cultural celebrations:

  1. Jashan-e-Esfand: This is a special ceremony where prayers are offered to Ahura Mazda, the supreme Zoroastrian deity, to seek blessings for prosperity and protection.

  2. Charshanbe Suri: On the last Wednesday of Esfand, people gather to celebrate the Iranian festival of fire. Bonfires are lit, and people jump over the flames to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck for the new year.

  3. Haft Seen: Similar to the Persian New Year, Esfand’s cultural celebrations involve setting up the traditional Haft Seen table, which includes seven symbolic items representing blessings for the coming year.

  4. Gahambar: Esfand marks the beginning of the Gahambar festival, a series of seasonal celebrations that take place throughout the year. During Esfand’s Gahambar, people come together to share meals and engage in acts of charity and community service.

These traditional customs and festive traditions during Esfand’s cultural celebrations reflect the deep-rooted religious and cultural significance of this month in Zoroastrianism.


In conclusion, the Zoroastrian calendar is a fascinating system with deep meanings and origins rooted in ancient Persian culture.

Each of the twelve months, from Farvardin to Esfand, holds significant symbolism and represents different aspects of life and nature.

Exploring the intricate details of this calendar allows us to gain a deeper understanding of the Zoroastrian faith and its rich history.

Like a tapestry woven with threads of time, the Zoroastrian calendar invites us to unravel its mysteries and appreciate the wisdom embedded within it.

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