Sepandar Mazgan is an ancient Iranian/Persian festival with Zoroastrian roots, the day for celebrating love, friendship and earth in the ancient Iranian culture. Dating back to the Achaemenid Empire, the first Persian Empire. This festival is widely known as the Iranian Day of Love, although it is celebrated in its neighboring countries as well as Afghanistan and Tajikistan. According to Iranian tradition, the day of Sepandar Mazgan was held in the Great Persian Empire in the 20th century BC .
This day is registered on Bahman 29th in the Iranian Calendar, only 3 days After Valentine. The original Esfandegan (Sepandar Mazgan) was on the 5th day of Esfand equals to 23rd of February but some scholars believe it is on 29th of Bahaman or 17th of February. So why two dates for a single day? This 6 day gap refers to calculations of the modern Iranian Solar year which is 365.25 days and the months are not fixed 30 days. So this scholars decided to make corrections in the calendar and preponed Esfandegan to 6 days earlier. These corrections have caused bewilderment among people who like to retrieve this old tradition.
History of Sepandar Mazgan
Persians have a rich culture with many great feasts based on natural occasions that have been mixed up with happiness & joy. In the feast of Sepandar Mazgan , Earth was worshiped and women venerated. On this day, Women and girls sat on the throne and men and boys had to obey them and bring them presents and gifts. In this way, men were reminded to acclaim and respect women. Also Sepandarmaz is Earth Guardian Angel. It is the symbol of humbleness, it means modest toward the entire creation. These are the qualities attributed to Earth that spreads beneath our feet, thus the symbol of modesty and love.
As human beings, there are creatures that we find unpleasant and repulsive, but Earth is not like us. She embraces all creatures the same and loves them the same; like a mother who loves all children alike, even when they are ugly. In our ancient culture, mother is symbolized by Sepandarmaz or earth. Have you ever seen a Love more sacred than Mother’s Love to children?
Iran’s Famous Love Stories
Leyli & Majnun
Layla and Majnun is a classic story of love most notably expressed by the great poets Nizami Ganjavi and Muhammad Fuzuli. It has been presented in many Middle Eastern and sub-continental cultures; Muslim, Sufi, Hindu, and secular. Layla and Qays, are in love from childhood but are not allowed to unite. Qays (called Majnun, which means “possessed”) is perceived to be mad in his obsession with Layla. Layla is married off to another and Majnun becomes a hermit, devoting himself to writing verses about his profound love of Layla. Although they attempt to meet, they die without ever realizing a relationship. (Read More)
Shirin & Farhad
These two illustrations feature scenes from the story of Shirin and Farhad. Their tragic love story is well known today, from Turkey to India and is especially popular in Iran. The encounter between Shirin and Farhad is part of a longer and much more tragic love story of Shirin and Khusrow. Farhad, was a humble engineer, artist and craftsmen famed for his skill at carving rock, who served Shirin, the Queen of Armenia. Farhad fell in love with Shirin.
In order to dissuade Farhad from his love for Shirin, Khusrow set him the impossible task of carving a tunnel through Mount Behistun. Before starting this arduous task, Farhad carved the likeness of Shirin into the rock face. Farhad’s story does not end well. He is tricked by Khusrow into believing that Shirin has died, after which he kills himself using the tools that he had used to carve her very image into the rock.