by Sara Razavi

Sepandarmazgan or Espandegan, the celebration day of love, friendship and earth, is an ancient Iranian festival with Zoroastrian roots dating back to the Achaemenid Empire, the first Persian Empire.

Sepandarmazgan festival


This festival is known as the Persian Day of Love just a few days after Valentine to honor and celebrate women and girls.The feast of Sepandarmazgan was held in the Persian Empire in the 20th century BC. In the Zoroastrian calendar, this day coincided with the fifth of Esfand (the last month in the Iranian Solar Calendar, usually from 19th of February to 19th of March). In ancient Iran each day of the month had a name. Any time the name of a day coincided with that of the month, a feast was held. The fifth day of each month used to be called as "Esfand" or "Sepandarmaz". So the fifth day of Esfand is called Sepandarmazgan. The "gan" suffix means the celebration, and as a result, the "Sepandarmazgan" means "Sepandarmaz Celebration", the celebration of Woman and Earth Day. On this day, women and girls sat on the throne and men and boys had to obey them and bring those presents and gifts. In this way, men were reminded to respect women. This shows the women’s high status in Iran since ancient times.

Natural occasions mixed up with happiness and joys are the basis of many great feasts in the Persians' rich culture. Sepandarmaz is another name for mainyu (earth) meaning holy, humble and passionate and is also Earth’s Guardian Angel. Earth is the symbol of humbleness and means modest toward the entire creation; loves all the creatures the same with generosity and devotion, Looks ugly and beautiful in one eye and embraces them just like a Mother in her loving arms. So in ancient Iranian culture, "Sepndaramz" was considered as a symbol of love to respect the women and the concept of fertility.

The Association of Iran's Cultural and Natural Phenomena has been trying since 2006 to make Sepandarmazgan as a national holiday, in order to replace its Western equivalent, Valentine’s Day.


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