There are three different calendars in use in Iran. The first is the Persian calendar, a solar one, the direct descendant of the Zoroastrian calendars of pre-Islamic Persia, which has years of 365 days divided into 12 months of 30 or 31 days each. Despite its apparent resemblance to the Gregorian calendar, it differs on several important
points: the first six months of the year have 31 days, the next five have 30 days and the last month 29 days, or 30 days in leap years. New Year's Day corresponds to the first day of spring, the 21 st of March, which is the time of the great festival of Noruz.
The years are counted from the first day of spring of the Hegira (622 AD). It is this solar calendar which is the most widely used in Iran today. For a quick conversion, add 621 to the Iranian year for the approximate date in the Christian calendar. The names of the months are as follows:
Farvardin (21 March-20 April);
Ordibehesht (21 April-21 May);
Khordad (22 May-21 June);
Tir (22June-22 july);
Mordad (23 July 22 August);
Shahrivar (23 August-22 September);
Mehr (23 September-22 October);
Aban (23 October-21 November);
Azar (22 November-2l
Dey (22 December-20 January);
Bahman (21 January-19 February);
Esfand (20 February-2O March).
The second calendar is the Islamic lunar calendar used in all Muslim countries, and which serves to fix the religious festivals and ceremonies. With this system, the year is also divided into twelve months, but is only 354 days long. For this reason, the gap between the solar and lunar years is constantly growing ( 33 lunar years are equal to 32 solar years), and there is now roughly a forty-year difference between the Islamic and Persian calendars although both start with the year of the Hegira, Because the first month of the Islamic year, Moharram, can begin at any time in the Gregorian calendar, it is very difficult to calculate the exact equivalent of an Islamic date, and conversion tables have been worked out for this purpose, It is worth noting also that there is a small difference between the Islamic calendaring Iran and in other Muslim countries, As the calendar is fixed according to the visibility of the moon, which appears a day later in Iran, there is a one day difference in the dates of the big religious festivals in Iran and in other Muslim countries.
The Gregorian calendar is also used in Iran and appears, for example, on the newspapers alongside the other two calendars; thus the newspaper published on the 5th of October 1992 was also dated l3th Mehr 1371 (Persian so ar calendar) and seventh Rabi-ol-sani 1413 (lunar calendar).
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