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Calendars in Iran

In Iran 3 calendars are used on a daily bases. The Solar Hijri calendar, the Loner Hijri Calendar and the western calendar. If you were living in Iran you would have to know that today is 8/19/2015 also 1394/28/5 also that its 2nd of Zighade 1436! At the beginning of news every day all three dates are announced before the news.

Solar Hijri Calendar:

Solar Hijri calendar, which is the official calendar of Iran, consists of 12 months, the first 6 months have 31 days , the next 5 months are 30 days and last month has 29 days. It is based on the solar movement, therefor the years is 365 days, 5 hours, 56 minutes and 48 seconds, which means the exact hour of the year changing is not on a fixed time every year. We don’t have a new year’s Eve in Iran, the year transition moves 5 hours forward every year. This year the new year was 2 midnight, next year it will be in the morning the next year it will be around noon and so on. Every 4 years the calendar has 366 days, Since the extra 5 hours add up. The 366 day year is called the intercalary “Kabise” year. Each of the Zodiac signs correspond to one of the 12 months in this calendar. It is based on astronomy and nature not on mathematic calculation such as the western calendar. The seasons in this calendar are in accordance to the natural seasonal changes.

The year of this calendar in Iran is currently 1394. The beginning of this calendar is based on the Hejira(travel) of Mohammad the prophet of Islam. He traveled from Mecca to Medina where he later established the first Islamic government.
This calendar is one of the most precise calendars of the world, it is based on the solar Jalali calendar. It was created 127 years ago, by Abdol ghafar Nojumodole. In 1925 the Iranian parliament changed the official calendar from loner Hijri to Solar Hijri calendar and it has been used since. All Iran’s ancient ceremonies and historical holidays are based on this calendar.

The month names in this calendar are based on the old religion of Iran. The 10th month is named “Dey” refers to “Ahuramazda” the God of the Goodness and brightness. The other 11 months are names of angels and forces who help Ahuramazda.

1- Farvardin                  Driving force
2- Ordibehesht             Truth and purity
3- Khordad                    Perfection and distinction
4- Tir                              Rain
5- Mordad                     Immortality
6- Shahrivar                 Chosen country
7- Mehr                         Promise and pact
8- Aban                         Waters
9- Azar                           Fire
10- Dey                          Creator
11- Bahman                  Good thoughts
12- Esfand                     Patients and humility

The changes of the year in this calendar is in exact accordance to natural changes. The first day of spring and autumn are exactly on the Equinox . The start of spring is when flowers start blooming in the nature.
This calendar is the first calendar that has 2 intercalary calculations, it not only has a 4 year once intercalary but a 5 year once intercalary too, which helps to synchronize this calendar to the natural season changes. This calendar has 24 hours in 4 million years while the western calendar has 24 hours error in 2000 years.

Loner Hijri Calendar:

This calendar is based on the moon circulation, it is known as the Islamic calendar which is the social calendar of Muslims. Islamic rituals and prays such as fasting, haj and ceremonies are all based on the months of this loner calendar. The origin of this Calendar is prophet Mohammed’s Hejira (travel) from Mecca to Medina. The year starts with month of Moharam.
While the Solar Hijri calendar is very similar to the western calendar, the loner calendar is very different. This year consists of 12 months that are either 29 or 30 days long. This year has only 354 days, which means it moves 10 days back every year. It does not comply with the natural seasonal changes, which means if Ramadan is in summer this year in 15 years Ramadan will be in winter. In this calendar the start of the day is when the moon comes into the sky. There for on religious events, the praying rituals start on sunset of the previous day and finish around noon the next day.
The month starts with the sight of the moon seen in the night sky. Some countries such as Iran only accept the start of loner months with human sight of the moon. Some countries base it on calculations. In Iran there are professional moon sighting groups that are deployed on beginning and end of the month of Ramadan, which cases controversy every year.
The months of loner year consist of : Moharam, Safar, Rabiolaval, Rabiosani, Jamadioaval, Jamadialsani, Rajab, Shaaban, Ramadan, Shaval, Zighade, Zihaje.

Western Calendar:

This calendar is also solar, which has 12 months of 30 or 31 days, except Feruary which is 28 days. This calendar is based on the ancient Roman calendar that has gone through many changes throughout the centuries. The name of week days which still stand are based on planets and moons.
Friday Venus Goddess of beauty and love
Saturday Saturn
Sunday The Sun
Monday The Moon
This Calendar is the official calendar in most of the countries of the world. Only a few countries use other calendars which are; Afghanistan; Iran; Saudi Arabia; Ethiopia; Nepal. Iran and Afghanistan used the Solar Hijri calendar as the official Calendar.

How 3 calendars are necessary in Iran:

Printed calendars in Iran have all these 3 dates on one page. Official events, such as national holidays are in the solar hijri calendar. The religious ceremonies are in the loner Hijri calendar, which move 10 days back every year, therefor they can’t be easily incorporated into the solar hijri calendar. Many prays and rituals have to be practiced on exact dates of the loner calendar. Religious Muslims know the exact dates very well. The western calendar is used in any foreign affairs; business; foreign travel etc. Therefor all these dates are necessary in calendars in Iran on a daily bases for most Iranians.

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