Skip to main content Accessibility help

On The Calendar Of Zoroastrian feasts

  • Mary Boyce


The curious fact has long been known that the greatest single festival of the Zoroastrian year, Nō Rōz, is celebrated twice over, with almost identical observances, on two separate days, namely Rōz Ohrmazd of Māh Fravardīn, and Rōz Hordād of the same month, i.e. on the first and sixth days of the first month of the year. As al-Bīrῡnī recorded, writing c. A.D. 1000: ‘On the sixth of Fravardīn, the day Hordād, is the Great Nō Rōz, for the Persians a feast of great importance’. The first of this month was celebrated as the Lesser Nō Rōz. Sasanian melodies were named for both Nō Rōz ī wuzorg and Nō Rōz ī xwurdag; and later the two days were also known respectively as the ‘special’ Nō Rōz (Nō Rōz-i xāṣṣa) and the 'general’ Nō Rōz (Nō Rōz-i ‘āmma). Among the Parsis the Great Nō Rōz ‘is kept with as much pomp and rejoicing as…New Year's Day’; and in Persia orthodox priests still do not recite Rapithwin Gāh, the daily prayer which marks Nō Rōz and the return of summer, until noon on Rōz Hordād of Māh Fravardīn, on which day the faithful there gather together for communal services to celebrate the beginning of the new religious year.



Hide All

1 For consistency the names of the months and days of the Zoroastrian calendar are given throughout this article in standard Middle Persian forms, even in citations from Arabo-Persian writings or in reference to current usages: v is used rather than w because forms such as Fravardīn and Ardvahišt are well established, and the familiar Fravardīgān is kept, although this name was evidently contracted to Frōrdīyān in popular speech, at least by the late Sasanian period.

2 Al-Bīrūnī, , The chronology of ancient nations, ed. and transl. by Sachau, E., 217.

3 See Christensen, A., ‘Some notes on Persian melody-names…’, in The Dastur Hoshang memorial volume, Bombay, 1918, 376, with Les types du premier homme et du premier roi dans l'histoire légendaire des Iraniens, II, Leiden, 1934, p. 153, n. 3.

4 See Burḥān-i qāṭi' s.v. Nōrōz; further Unvala, M. R., ‘A few Parsee festivals (jashans) according to an old Parsee manuscript’, in Modi, J. J. (ed.), Spiegel memorial volume, Bombay, 1908, 204–5.

5 Seervai, K. N. and Patel, B. B., Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, IX, Pt. II, 1899, 219.

6 This is the practice, for example, of Dastur Khodadad Shahriyar Neryosangi, now of Sharīfābād.

7 In Yazd and its villages the ‘Great Nō Rōz’ is now known as Habdorū (Havdorū, Habzorū), a name perhaps derived from Haft Dārūg, see Kitāb al-maḥāsin wa 'l-aḍdād, ed. van Vloten, , Leyden, 1898 (repr. 1966), 361, transl. E. Ehrlich, ‘The celebration and gifts of the Persian New Year (Nawrūz) according to an Arabic source’, in Dr. Modi memorial volume, Bombay, 1930, 98.

8 op. cit., 222, 223; concerning Nō Rōz, ibid., 218. As with Nō Rōz, Sasanian melody names survive for Mihragān which appear to be connected with the two festivals, namely Mihragān ī and Mihragān ī xwurdag, see Christensen, , Dastur Hoshang memorial volume, 376.

9 See Firdausī, , Shāhnāma, ed. Vullers, , I, 25, vv. 47–55; al-Bīrūnī, , op. cit., 216, 233; al-Tha'ālibī, , Histoire des rois des Perses, ed. and transl. by Zotenberg, H., 13; al-Tabarī, , Annales, ed. de Goeje, , I, 180.12 ff., transl. Christensen, , Les types du premier homme…, II, 86.

10 Al-Bīrūnī, , op. cit., 222. Otherwise al-Tha'ālibī, , op. cit., 35–6.

11 Christensen, , Les types du premier homme, II, 144, held that the double Nō Rōz was first evolved in Islamic times. On the duplicated Mihragāns see Taqizadeh, S. H., Old Iranian calendars, London, 1938, 44–5, and further Henning, W. B., ‘The murder of the Magi’, JRAS, 1944, p. 134, n. 1.

12 See von Gutschmid, A., ‘Über das iranische Jahr’, Berichte der Kōniglich Sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, 1862 (= KleineSchriften, III, Leipzig, 1892, 209–15); Markwart, J., ‘Das Naurōz, seine Geschichte und seine Bedeutung’, Dr. Modi memorial volume, Bombay, 1930, 721–3; Taqizadeh, , ‘ The Iranian festivals adopted by the Christians and condemned by the Jews ’, BSOAS, X, 3, 1940, 635 (where he establishes inter alia that the Nausardēl of the Nestorians derived its name from the Great, not from the Lesser Nō Rōz). These scholars all attributed the duplication to an intercalation of the Achaemenian period. Lewy, H., ‘ Le calendrier perse ’, Orientalia, NS, X, 1–2, 1941, 164, suggested that it arose at the beginning of the Sasanian period; but against her reasoning see Bickeiman, E. J., ‘The “Zoroastrian” calendar’, Archiv Orientálni, XXXV, 2, 1967, 203.

13 Great Bundahišn, i a, 16, ed. Anklesaria, T. D., Bombay, 1908, 22.10, transl. B. T. Anklesaria, Bombay, 1956, 27.

14 See Christensen, , Dastur Hoshang mem. vol., p. 369, n. 2. Further instances can be added to those given there.

15 GBd., ed. , T.D.A., 55.9–10.

16 Dhabhar, B. N. (ed.), The Pahlavi Rivāyat accompanying the Dādistān ī dīnīk, Bombay, 1913, LXV1, 9 (p. 208); see Bailey, H. W., Zoroastrian problems in the ninth-century books, Oxford, 1943, 138.

17 op. cit., 11.

18 The Hindu sāvana year of 360 lunar days and 12 months, likewise apparently originally devised for liturgical computation, also came to be used for chronological reckonings and historical events; see Barnett, L. D., The antiquities of India, London, 1913, 194–5, 203–5. The ancient Iranians similarly divided the lunar as well as the solar month into 30 days, see, e.g., Anklesaria, B. T. (ed.), Vichitakiha-i Zatsparam, Bombay, 1964, XXXIV, 26.

19 On the lack of evidence for its use before the Parthian period see Bickerman, , art. cit., 204–5. In the Aramaic inscription, Darius, Naqš-i Rustam b, conjecturally dated to the first half of the third century B.C. (see Henning, , Handbuch der Orientalistik, Abt. I, IV. Bd., Iranistik, 1, 24), Herzfeld, E. read the words m'hy sndrm (see his Altpersische Inschriften, Berlin, 1938, 12). His hand-copy shows the m of the second word as final, and the date appears too early for -nt > -nd. Even if substantiated, therefore, the reading could hardly be interpreted as ‘in the month Sandārm[ad]’, i.e. Spendārmad. In fact no other scholar has been able to read these words, see the remarks of Cameron, G. G., Persepolis treasury tablets, Chicago, 1948, 29a.

20 See D'yakonov, I. M. and Livshits, V. A., ‘Novye nakhodki dokumentov v staroi Nisa’, Peredneaziatskii sbornik, II, Moscow, 1960, 135–57(English summary, 169–73). (I am indebted to Dr. Livshits for his kindness in entering into correspondence with me about the unpublished material for the Nisa calendar.)

21 See Welles, C. B., Royal correspondence in the Hellenistic period, New Haven, 1934, 299 f.

22 See D'yakonov, and Livshits, , op. cit., 143–1 with n. 28; Dokumenty iz Nisy I v. do N.E., Moscow, 1960, 20, 113; Bickerman, , ‘The Parthian ostracon No. 1760 from Nisa’, Bibliotkeca Orientalis XXIII, 1–2, 1966, 1517; Chaumont, M.-L., ‘Les ostraca de Nisa, nouvelle contribution à l'histoire des Arsacides’, JA, CCLVI, 3, 1968, 1719, 35.

23 See al-Bīrūnī, , op. cit., 11.

24 See Henning, , art. cit., 29 (for Avrōmān); and The monuments and inscriptions of Tang-i Sarvak’, Asia Major, NS, II, 2, 1952, 176(for the Ardabān inscription).

25 Non-Iranians continued to use the Babylonian lunisolar calendar, see Bickerman, , Archiv Orientální, XXXV, 2, 1967, 205, and ‘Time-reckoning in Iran’, in Yarshater, E. (ed.), The Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanian periods (Cambridge History of Iran, III), in press. (I am much indebted to Professor Bickerman for letting me read this chapter in draft and for subjecting a draft of the present article to trenchant and valuable criticism.)

26 See Andreas, F. C. and Henning, W. B., Mitteliranische Manichaica aus Chinesisch-Turkeslan, I (SPAW, Phil.-hist. KI., 1932, 10), 190.16–19, cf. 191.3–5.

27 Henning, , Ein manichäisches Henochbuch (SPAW, Phil.-hist. Kl., 1934, 5), 33, attributed the text to between A.D. 235 and 238, i.e. to the reign of Ardašīr. Lewy, H., art. cit., 36–7, assigned it to c. A.D. 244, i.e. the beginning of the reign of his son Šābuhr.

28 Al-Bīrūnī, , op. cit., 32. (See Lewy, , art. cit., 41, and contra, Bickerman, , Archiv Orientální, XXXV, 2, 1967, 203.)

29 See Tansarnāma (The letter of Tansar), ed. Minovi, M., Tehran, 1932, 1012, transl. M. Boyce, Rome, 1968, 36–7, and intro., p. 22, n. 2.

30 That Fravardīn was the first calendar-month at the beginning of the Sasanian period is established by the inscription of Šābuhr I at Bīshāpūr, see Ghirshman, R., ‘Inscription du monument de Châpour Ier’, Revue des Arts Asiatiques, X, 3, 1937, 123–9.

31 See Geiger, W., Civilisation of the Eastern Iranians, transl. Sanjana, D. P., London, 1885, I, p. 148, n. 2, 149; Taqizadeh, , Old Iranian calendars, p. 10 with n. 2, 46. With regard to the Achaemenian festival of the Magophonia, , Henning, (JRAS, 1944, p. 134, n. 1) pointed out that Markwart was not justified in calling this a five-day festival, since Herodotus states that it occupied only a single day.

32 Saddar Bundahiš, lii, 2 (text in Dhabhar, B. N. (ed.), Saddar Naṣr and Saddar Bundehesh, Bombay, 1909, 125–6; transl., Dhabhar, , The Rivāyat of Hormazyar Framarz, 542–3).

33 Dīnkard, V, 29 (ed. D. P. Sanjana, x).

34 GBd., ia, 21, ed. , T.D.A., 24.4–5 (rōz ī truftag/duzīdag). These names were rendered in Arabic as al-masrūqa and al-mustaraqa, see al-Bīrūnī, , op. cit., 43.

35 op. cit., 224.

36 The 10-day Fravardīgān festival is referred to in Pahl. Vd., viii, 22; Nīrangistān, ed. Sanjana, D. P., fol. 52r., 15 ff., transl. Bulsara, S. J., Aērpatastān and Nīrangastān, 111 ff.; Dk., VIII, 6.11 (ed. Sanjana, , XV), as well as in later works. In VZ, XXXV, 19 ff. (ed. , B.T.A., 155 ff.) the rituals and events of the end of the world-year are amplified to last 10 days. For the actual observance of the 10-day festival in A.D. 565 see Doblhofer, E. (tr.), Byzantinische Diplomaten und ōstliche Barbaren, aus den Excerpta de legationibus des Konstantinos Porphyrogennetos ausgewählte Abschnitte des Priskos und Menander Protektor, Graz, 1955, 122. The expression ‘the farvardiyān days’ is still used of the festival in the Persian Rivāyats.

37 Information from Ervad Dr. Firoze M. Kotwal.

38 See Modi, J. J., The religious ceremonies and customs of the Parsees, second ed., Bombay, 1937, 440. In the Persian Rivāyats there is a tendency to regard the ‘Farvardiyān days’ as extending up to 6 Fravardin (see Unvala, M. K., Dārāb Hormazyār's Rivāyat, Bombay, 1922, I, 506.13, transl. Dhabhar, B. N., The Persian Rivayats of Hormazyar Framarz, Bombay, 1932, 337), although they are still numbered as ten.

39 Taking vīsāδa to mean ‘to their homes’, with Haug, Justi, Darmesteter, and others. This translation has in general been adopted despite th e assumption that vīsāδa was an ablative; but Henning interpreted this word as having the directive suffix -da (cf. vaēsmənda, GIF, I, § 304.II.10) with anomalous preceding ā.

40 The data for these northern calendars were conveniently brought together by Gray, L. H., ‘On certain Persian and Armenian month-names as influenced by th e Avesta calendar’, JAOS, XXVIII, 2, 1907, 331–44. For the older Khwar. material discovered since see Livshits, , ‘The Khwarezmian calendar and the eras of ancient Chorasmia’, Ada Antiqua Acad. Scient. Hungaricae, XVI, 1–4, 1968, 433—46. On the difference of five days between the Sogd. and Persian calendars see al-Bīrūnī, , op. cit., 46, 233; and on the Armenian feast-days Taqizadeh, , BSOAS, X, 3, 1940, 639 ff. Henning has pointed out that the evidence from Mt. Mugh suggests that the Sogdians did not follow the Sasanians in naming the epagomenae, but simply called them after the first five days of the month, see his A Sogdian god’, BSOAS, XXVIII, 2, 1965, p. 251, n. 58.

41 See Hertel, J., ‘Die awestischen Jahreszeitenfeste. Afrīnagān 3’, Berichte über die Verhandlungen der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Phil.-hist. KL, XI, 2, 1934, 22; Nadershah, J. D., ‘The Zoroastrian months and years…’, The K. R. Cama memorial volume, Bombay, 1900, 252–4.

42 VZ, XX, 1, xxi, 1, ed. , B.T.A., 77, 78. Anklesaria (text and intro., p. xciii) is undoubtedly right in preferring the reading ZK-š 5 YWM to the variant ZK 40 5 YWM. (Otherwise Molé, M., Culte, mythe et cosmologie dans l'Iran ancien, Paris, 1963, 317.)

43 op. cit., 224.

44 Nīr. fol. 53r., 4 (Bulsara, , 113).

45 Nīr. fol. 52v., 6 (Bulsara, , 112).

46 See Boyce, , ‘Festivals’, in Yarshater, E. (ed.), The Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanian periods (Cambridge History of Iran, III), in press.

47 op. cit., 219.

48 op. cit., 217.

49 Saddar Bd. 1, 3–19 (Dhabhar, (ed.), 122, (tr.), 541).

50 See Dhabhar, (ed.), Zand-i Khūrtak Avistāk, Bombay, 1927, 152.4 f., 372–3; transl. (with MS variants), Bombay, 1963, 293–4; earlier transl. by Darmesteter, , ZA, III, 181–2.

51 See GBd., ia, 16 ff. (ed. , T.D.A., 22.8–11).

52 GBd., v b, 4, ed. , T.D.A., 56.5–9; Nyberg, H. S., Texte zum mazdayasnischen Kalender, Uppsala, 1934, 25(with slightly different translation).

53 See GBd., XXV, 1, ed. , T.D.A., 157.12–14 (360 days), against the Indian Bd., ed. Justi, F., Leipzig, 1868, 59 (365 days); see Nyberg, , op. cit., 10.

54 VZ, xxxiv, 49, ed. , B.T.A., 148, intro., cxxii.

55 See Nöldeke's, transl. of al-Tabarī, Geschichte der Perser und Araber, Excursus 1, 400–34.

56 op. cit., 44.

57 See Boyce, , ‘Rapithwin, Nō Rūz and the feast of Sade’, in Heesterman, J. C., Schokker, G. H., and Subramoniam, V. I. (ed.), Pratidānam… studies presented to F. B. J. Kuiper, The Hague, 1968, p. 202, n. 8.

58 See Taqizadeh apud Minorsky, V., ‘Vīs u Rāmīn (II)’, BSOAS, XII, 3, 1947, 35.

59 Al-Bīrūnī, , op. cit., 45 (Yazdegerd); Qānūn-i Mas'ūdī, I, Hyderabad, 1954, 132 (Pērōz); see Taqizadeh, , Calendars, 37; Bickerman, , art. cit., p. 202 with n. 23. The reform has also been assigned to the reigns of Xusrau I (531–79) and even Yazdegerd III (632–51); but there is evidence to show that these attributions are too late (see further below). The melody called the Nō Rōz ī Kay Kavād (see Christensen, , Dastur Hoshang mem. vol., 375) was presumably composed in honour of the new Nō Rōz.

60 See Nyberg, op. oit., 60.

61 See Hoffmann, G., Auszüge aus syrischen Akten persischer Märtyrer (Abh. für die Kunde des Morgenlandes, VII, 3), 1880, 79.

62 Pahl. Riv. Dd., i, 2; Nyberg, , op. cit., 44.

63 Pahl. Riv. Dd., i, 4; cf. Vizīrīhā ī dēn ī weh ī Mazdēsnān, ed. Jamasp-Asa, K. J., in Boyoe, M. and Gershevitch, I. (ed.), W. B. Henning memorial volume, London, 1970, 206. In the Khwar. calendar, which was not affected by the second Sasanian reform, the day most sacred to the departed remained Rōz Fravardīn of Māh Fravardīn, cf. the Toq-qal'a ossuary no. 25 (see Henning, , ‘The Choresmian documents’, Asia Major, NS, XI, 2, 1965, 179).

64 See Mādigān ī hazār dādistān, ed. Modi, J. J., Bombay, 1901, 35.13–14.

65 op. cit., 224.

66 Prairies d'or, § 1298, ed. Pellat, Ch., Paris, 1965, 495.

67 See Unvala, , Spiegel mem. vol., 208; and cf. al-Bīrūnī, , op. cit., 225.

68 See Boyce, in Heesterman, and others (ed.), Pratidānam, 201–5.

69 To-day, conversely, the Zoroastrians celebrate the Nō Rōz ī Jamšēdl as a secular feast in spring, and the religious Nō Rōz on I Fravardīn, which is once more in August. On the secular and religious Nō Rōz in Sasanian times see also Kuka, M. N., ‘Principal Persian festivals in th e days of Naosherwan’, Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy Madressa jubilee volume, Bombay, 1914, 1114.

70 Dk.M, 683.7–8; Nyberg, , op. oit., 6.

71 See Hyde, Th., Historia religionis veterum Persarum, Oxford, 1700, 238. (Otherwise interpreted by Lewy, , art. cit., p. 42, n. 1.)

72 VZ, XXV, 5 (ed. , B.T.A., 91–2); see Taqizadeh, , ‘Some chronological data relating to the Sasanian period’, BS08, IX, 3, 1937, 132(with a different interpretation).

73 See Sachau's ed., 45.

74 See Bickerman, , art. cit., 199.

75 Georgios Chrysokokkes, writing in A.D. 1346, see Gray, L. H., ‘Medieval Greek references to the Avestan calendar’, Avesta, Pahlavi and ancient Persian studies in honour of…P. B. Sanjana, I, Strassburg, 1904, 170. A generation later, Isaakos Argyros tells of only the one Zoroastrian calendar (see Gray, ibid., 173–4). For Dk., III, see Nyberg, , op. cit., 30–9, with his remarks, 80—6.

76 GBd., i, 50, ed. , T.D.A., 12.1513.2.

77 Al-Bīrūnī, , op. cit., 55.

78 See Unvala, M. B., ‘Two Persian passages about the kabiseh (intercalation)’, K. R. Cama mem. vol., Bombay, 1900, 235–6.

79 Dk.M, 402.20–403.11; Nyberg, , op. cit., 32–4 (with some differences in translation; see his edition for Pahl. words marked with an asterisk in the text reproduced here). Mihragān is evidently kept in the argument because of its popularity. The position of this feast, as we have seen, was not altered by the second reform.

80 This appears to be an allusion to non-conformity over the position of Nō Rōz, and over the second reform, on the part of the northern kingdoms.

81 Jamasp-Asana, J. M. (ed.), The Pahlavi texts, II, Bombay, 1913, 102–7; Blochet, E. (tr.), Revue archéologiqne, Paris, 1895, 1722; Jamasp-Asana, K. J. (tr.), K. R. Cama mem. vol., Bombay, 1900, 122–9; Markwart, J. (tr.), Dr. Modi mem. vol., Bombay, 1930, 742–65.

82 Text, § 11.

83 cf. Saddar Bd., lii, 2. Although 6 Fravardīn was thus celebrated as the Great Nō Rōz, it was still invested with some observances proper to Hordād, the Amešaspand who protects water. See Kitāb al-maḥāsin, ed. van Vloten, , 362, transl. Ehrlich, , Modi mem. vol., 99; Taqizadeh, , BSOAS, X, 3, 1940, p. 636 with n. 2. The importance of Rōz Hordād in Zoroaster's own life is stressed in Vizīrkerd ī dīnīg, ed. Sanjana, P., Bombay, 1848, i, §§ 6, 17, transl. Molé, M., La légende de Zoroastre selon lea textes pehlevis, Paris, 1967, 125, 131.

84 Vīs u Rāmīn, ed. Minovi, M., Tehran, 1935, 148; see Minorsky, V., ‘Vīs u Rāmīn, a Parthian romance’, BSOAS, XI, 4, 1946, p. 747, n. 2.

85 Vīs u Rāmīn, ed. Minovi, , 44; see Taqizadeh apud Minorsky, , BSOAS, XII, 3, 1947, 34–5. On the Persian custom of marrying at the spring equinox see Strabo, , Geographia, XVII, 733.

86 On this festival see Boyce, , ‘Ātaš-zōhr and Āb-zōhr’, JRAS, 1966, 107. With regard to the gahāmbārs, the first da y came in time to be the one chiefly celebrated, see Sheriyar, Khudayar Dastur, ‘The celebration of the gahāmbār in Persia’, Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy Madressa jubilee volume, Bombay, 1914, 302; Boyce, , BSOAS, XXXI, 2, 1968, 277.

87 op. cit., 220. Tiragān is not mentioned in the Shāhnāma; and it seems likely that the epic link, with its pun on the word for arrow, tīr, was first made in the later Sasanian period. In the third century A.D. the older form of the word, tigr, was still in use.

88 Salemann, C., Manichaeische Studien (Mém. de l'Ac. Impériale des Sciences de St. -Péters-bourg, VIIIe Sér. VIII, 10), 1908, 8; text restored by Henning, , JRAS, 1944, p. 134, n. 1.

89 See Taqizadeh, , ‘An ancient Persian practice preserved by a non-Iranian people’, BSOS, IX, 3, 1938, p. 608 with n. 3. The great feasts of Mihragān and Tīragān were not the only nonobligatory ones to be duplicated, for al-Bīrūnī records that Sada was also celebrated again after a five-day interval, the second celebration being as usual the major one; see his Book of instruction in the elements of the art of astrology (Kitāb al-tafhīm li awā'il ṣinā'at al-tanjīm), ed. and transl. by Wright, R. R., London, 1934, 310.

90 For the festival among the Parsis see Modi, J. J., The religious ceremonies and customs of the Parsis, second ed., 435; Seervai, and Patel, , Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, IX, Pt. II, 217; for the Irani one as formerly observed see Unvala, , Darab Hormazyar's Rivāyat, I, 526.8—19, 527.1–6; Dhabhar, transl., 341–2; further Unvala, , Spiegel mem. vol., 206.

91 op. cit., 209.

92 See Taqizadeh, , BSOS, IX, 3, 1938, 604–6; IX, 4, 1939, 917–18.

93 cf. above, p. 525, ga'āmbār-i panjīvak. The month-names for the gahāmbārs are now usually taken from the jalālī calendar.

94 cf. the old use, in VZ, of the term ‘Spring festival’ for Maiδyōizarəmaya, see above, p. 524.

95 The 10-day festival was kept by the Zoroastrians of Yazd down to the early decades of the present century, and is still remembered by older members of the community there. The observance must have been established at the time of the calendar change yet in the Rivāyat of Shapur, Kamdin, dated A.D. 1558 (for references see above, p. 535, n. 90) the festival is still described as lasting one day only. Presumably the 10-day feast was a popular development carried out in opposition to scholar-priests, in whose families the older tradition, enshrined in written texts, may have remained known for generations.

96 See Karaka, D. F., The history of the Parsis, I, London, 1884, 151.

97 See Khareghat, M. P., ‘The Daryāī Nōrōz’, Dr. Modi mem. vol., 118–30.

98 Henning insisted that the ‘258 years before Alexander’ should be regarded as a genuine date, and not a reconstructed one. For his discussion of it see his Zoroaster, politician or witch-doctor?, Oxford, 1951, 36 ff. A date of 660 B.C. for Zoroaster's birth is indicated by the legendary chronology, see E. W. West, SBE, XLVII, intro., § 55.

99 The fact that their names survive in YAv. forms (having undergone presumably the regular changes of a living language) is not incompatible with this supposition. The gahāmbārs are the only Zoroastrian feasts whose foundation is traditionally ascribed to the prophet, see al-Bīrūnī, , op. cit., 219.

100 On the closeness of the link between Aša and Rapithwin see, e.g., Boyce, in Heesterman, and others (ed.), Pratidānam, 203–4; and on the other Amešaspands and the gahāmbārs see Zoroaster the priest’, BSOAS, XXXIII, 3, 1970, p. 27 with n. 32.

101 Note the current Irani name for the Greater Nō Rōz (see above, p. 513, n. 7). For instances of sevenfold offerings and ceremonies at Nō Rōz see Kitāb al-maḥāsin, ed. van Vloten, , 361, transl. Ehrlich, 98 (where moreover the Amešaspands are evidently represented in the dawn-offerings set before the king); Unvala, , Dārāb Hormazyār's Rivāyat, I, 516.18 f., transl. Dhabhar, 339. The custom of Persian Muslims of setting out the haft sīn is not practised by Zoroastrians, but it perpetuates the link between Nō Rōz and the number seven.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • ISSN: 0041-977X
  • EISSN: 1474-0699
  • URL: /core/journals/bulletin-of-the-school-of-oriental-and-african-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed