Iranian months : Origin of the names

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Iranian months : Origin of the names

Postby Ardavan Tehrani » Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:04 pm

>The names of the 12 Persian months are taken from the ancient
>Zoroastrian texts and the origins are deeply rooted in their belief
>system. This was the religion of Iran before the advent of Islam in
>seventh century AD. Zoroastrians believed in two primal forces, good
>and evil. Everything that supported and enriched life was good and
>all that threatened life and disturbed order was bad. The Lord of
>Wisdom (Ahura Mazda) created goodness and the Hostile Spirit (Angra
>Mainyu) created all that was bad (Ahriman in modern Persian).
>Zoroastrians’ Universe lasts for 12000 years; there are four phases,
>each for 3000 years. At the first one, good and bad are separated.
>In the second phase, the hostile forces succeed. The good forces are
>back in the third one. At the last phase several saviours come. The
>last one is Saoshyant. When he arrives there is resurrection,
>walking over the Separation Bridge, Chinvat (Sarat Bridge in Quran)
>and finally all the hostile spirits will be defeated.
>The Lord of Wisdom in order to defeat the hostile spirits creates
>many forces and beings to help him. There are three groups of
>metaphysical beings, some more important than others. The first
>group is the six Amesha Spenta. With the Lord of wisdom they form
>the seven Holy Immortals that protect the first seven creations when
>the material world (Geety) is created. They are the protectors of
>sky, waters, earth, fire, plants, animals and humans.
>Six of the twelve months are in their names. Khashtra Vairya
>(Shahrevar). He is the lord of sky, all stones, metals, warriors and
>the protector of the poor and the weak. It means the desirable
>dominion (Keshvar e Arezoo Shodeh). Shahr is country or land and Var
>means desirable. Asha Vahishta (Ordibehesht) lord of fire and
>noontime heat means the ultimate righteousness (Behtarin Rasty).
>Asha has many meanings righteousness, law, purity, sacred (Asha
>Zardosht) are only some of the commonly used ones. Vohu Manah
>(Bahman) protector of animals means good purpose (Nik Nahad). He was
>a powerful symbol of creative goodness and is the divinity
>personifying the principle of Asha (cosmic order). Haurvatat
>(Khordad) protects all waters and means health or wholeness (Rasaei
>& Kamali).
>Spenta Armaiti (Esphand / Espandarmaz) a female deity who protects
>mother earth is Holy Devotion (Foroutani Moghadas). Espand means
>holy and Armaiti equals devotion and unconditional love. She is also
>the guardian of herdsmen and farmers. She is identified by the
>Greeks as Demeter and in Armenia is known as Spendaramet. Ameretat
>(Mordad) supporter of all plant life represents immortality (Na
>mira). Mar (marg in modern Persian) means death, ‘a’ at the
>beginning of any word changes the meaning into the opposite. Mordad
>means death, while Amordad means immortality. Mordad is used wrongly
>in modern calendar and should be Amordad.
>These immortals also represent different aspects of Ahura Mazda’s
>attributes. One of their functions is to transfer these attributes
>to humans. For example Vohu Manah (Bahman) is a symbol of "Good
>Purpose". Zoroastrians through Bahman Yasht (Prayers specific to
>Bahman) would discipline themselves to always mean good and have
>noble purposes. Ordibehesht Yasht (Yasht means prayer) will teach
>Zoroastrians to follow righteousness, one of Lord of Wisdom’s
>The second group of metaphysical beings are Yazata (Eyzad), ‘a being
>worthy of worship’. There are hundreds of them. Every good force in
>nature and all deeds and attributes beneficial to humans have their
>own Eyzad. Azar, Aban, Khorshid, Mihr, Tir and Bahram are some of
>the best known Eyzads.
>Azar (Atar/Adur) is yazata of fire (Agni in Indian Rig-Veda). It is
>one of the most important of all Eyzads. In Avestan Mythology it
>helps legendary king Takhmorup (Tahmoureth) and Yima Khshaeta
>(Jamshid) to overcome many obstacles. The word has become synonymous
>with fire (Atash) in modern Persian. Aban, is Avestan ‘Apas’, ‘Api’
>in middle Persian and ‘Ap’ in Phalavi. It means water (Aub, in
>modern Persian). It is the protector Eyzad of the ‘waters’ and an
>assistant to Spenta Armaiti.
>Mihr is Mithra in Avesta and Mitrah in Phahlavi. It is the yazata of
>the convenant and of loyalty. It has come from the word mei, meaning
>exchange. In Avesta he is the protector of ‘Payman e Dousti’
>(contract of friendship). In modern Persian it means love and
>kindness. He is the lord of ordeal by fire (walking through fire to
>prove innocence, story of Siavash in Shahnameh) and presides over
>judgment of the soul at death. Ancient Greeks identified him with
>Tiri, Tir (Tishtrya), is assimilation from Babylonian Nabu, lord of
>scribe and of the planet Mercury into Avestan mythology. It means
>the swift one (Tond va chabok) and protects rain. In Persian-Islamic
>mythology Tir (Attarod in Arabic) is still the lord of scribe
>(Setareh Dabir).
>The last groups of metaphysical beings are ‘Forouhars’, the guardian
>angels created by Ahura Mazda to protect all living beings after the
>material world (Geety) was created. Farevashi are Forouhars specific
>to humans and the word means guardian. The word has become
>synonymous with fereshteh in modern Persian. Farvardin, is the
>descent of Farevashi to earth in order to visit and help their human
>counter parts. It also means ‘Farr e Din’, glory of religious
>consciousness. A major festival celebrating departed souls it was
>changed into celebrating guardian angels coming to earth before the
>start of the New Year. Farvardegan is ‘Jashn e Farevashi’ and it
>still celebrated by Zoroastrians today.
>‘Day’ (dadar) means creator (Afaridegar). The whole month was
>dedicated to Ahura Mazda. The eight, fifteenth and twenty-third of
>every month were also called ‘Day’. The first day of this month was
>celebrated as ‘Khoram Ruz’ a feast of charity, people were expected
>to be charitable and help others.
>The twelve deities have survived as months of the year in modern
>Persian calendar. In the Islamic period the same structure was taken
>and transformed into the Iranian version of Shiite Islam. Twelve
>Imams replaced Yazata and Saoshyant; the last saviour was changed
>into the Time Lord, Imam Zaman. However the meanings, the importance
>of following and practicing divine attributes as part of the monthly
>rituals are lost. So are the joys, monthly feasts and celebrations
>associated with them.
>Modern Persian Phahlavi Meaning
>Farvardin Farvardin Farr e Din
>Ordibehesht Asha Vahishta Behtarin Rasty
>Khordad Haurvatat Rasaei & Kamali
>Tir Tishtrya Tond & chabok
>Mordad Ameretat Na mira
>Shahrevar Khashtra Vairya Keshvare e Arezoo Shodeh
>Mihr Mitrah Paymen e doustie
>Aban Ap Aub
>Azar Atar / Adur Atash
>Day Dadar Afaridegar
>Bahman Vahu Manah Nik Nahad
>Esphand Espandarmaz Foroutani Moghadas
Ardavan Tehrani

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