The Bundahishn

Knowledge from the Zand

1897 | 25,140 words

A collection of texts related to Zoroastrian cosmogony and cosmology. The contents focuses on the Zoroastrianism's creation myth, and the first battles of 'Ahura Mazda' and 'Angra Mainyu'. Most of the chapters of the compendium date to the 8th and 9th centuries. The Bundahishn ("Creation"), or Knowledge from the Zand. Translated by E. W...

Chapter XXV - The Religious Calendar

On matters of religion it says in revelation thus:

'The creatures of the world were created by me complete in three hundred and sixty-five days,'

that is, the six periods of the Gahambars which are completed in a year. It is always necessary first to count the day and afterwards the night, for first the day goes off, and then the night comes on. And from the season (gas) of Maidyoshahem, which is the auspicious day Khwarshed of the month Tishtar, to the season of Maidyarem, which is the auspicious day Warharan of the month Din [Dae]-- the shortest day -- the night increases; and from the season of Maidyarem to the season of Maidyoshahem the night decreases and the day increases. The summer day is as much as two of the shortest winter days, and the winter night is as much as two of the shortest summer nights. The summer day is twelve Hasars, the night six Hasars; the winter night is twelve Hasars, the day six; a Hasar being a measure of time and, in like manner, of land. In the season of Hamaspathmaidyem, that is, the five supplementary days at the end of the month Spandarmad, the day and night are again equal.

As from the auspicious day Ohrmazd of the month Frawardin to the auspicious day Anagran of the month Mihr is the summer of seven months, so from the auspicious day Ohrmazd of the month Aban to the auspicious month Spandarmad, on to the end of the five supplementary days, is the winter of five months. The priest fulfills the regulation (vachar) about a corpse and other things, by this calculation as to summer and winter. In those seven months of summer the periods (gas) of the days and nights are five since one celebrates the Rapithwin namely, the period of day-break is Hawan, the period of midday is Rapithwin, the period of afternoon is Uzerin, when the appearance of the stars has come into the sky until midnight is the period of Aiwisruthrem, from midnight until the stars become imperceptible is the period of Ushahin.

In winter are four periods, for from daybreak till Uzerin is all Hawan, and the rest as I have said; and the reason of it is this, that the appearance of winter is in the direction of the north, where the regions Wourubareshti and Wourujareshti are; the original dwelling of summer, too, is in the south, where the regions Fradadhafshu and Widadhafshu are; on the day Ohrmazd of the auspicious month Aban the winter acquires strength and enters into the world, and the spirit of Rapithwin goes from above-ground to below-ground, where the spring (khani) of waters is, and diffuses warmth and moisture in the water, and so many roots of trees do not wither with cold and drought.

And on the auspicious day Adar of the month Din the winter arrives, with much cold, at Eranvej; and until the end, in the auspicious month Spandarmad, winter advances through the whole world; on this account they kindle a fire everywhere on the day Adar of the month Din, and it forms an indication that winter has come. In those five months the water of springs and conduits is all warm, for Rapithwin keeps warmth and moisture there, and one does not celebrate the period of Rapithwin. As the day Ohrmazd of the month Frawardin advances it diminishes the strength which winter possesses, and summer comes in from its own original dwelling, and receives strength and dominion.

Rapithwin comes up from below-ground, and ripens the fruit of the trees; on this account the water of springs is cold in summer, for Rapithwin is not there; and those seven months one celebrates the Rapithwin, and summer advances through the whole earth. And yet in the direction of Hindustan, there where the original dwelling of summer is nearer, it is always neither cold nor hot; for in the season which is the dominion of summer, the rain always dispels most of the heat, and it does not become perceptible; in the winter rain does not fall, and the cold does not become very perceptible. In the northern direction, where the preparation of winter is, it is always cold; for in the summer mostly, on account of the more oppressive winter there, it is not possible so to dispel the cold that one might make it quite warm. In the middle localities the cold of winter and heat of summer both come on vehemently.

Again, the year dependent on the revolving moon is not equal to the computed year on this account, for the moon returns one time in twenty-nine, and one time in thirty days, and there are four hours (zaman) more than such a one of its years; as it says, that every one deceives where they speak about the moon (or month), except when they say that it comes twice in sixty days. Whoever keeps the year by the revolution of the moon mingles summer with winter and winter with summer.

This, too, it says, that the auspicious month Frawardin, the month Ardwahisht, and the month Hordad are spring; the month Tishtar, the month Amurdad, and the month Shahrewar are summer; the month Mihr, the month Aban, and the month Adar are autumn; the month Din, the month Vohuman, and the month Spandarmad are winter. And the sun comes from the sign (khurdak) of Aries, into which it proceeded in the beginning, back to that same place in three hundred and sixty-five days and six short times (hours), which are one year. As every three months it (the sun) advances through three constellations, more or less, the moon comes, in a hundred and eighty days, back to the place out of which it traveled in the beginning.

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