Solar Hijri calendar

Iranian Solar calendar

The Solar Hijri calendar is a solar calendar and one of the various ancient Iranian calendars. It begins on the March equinox as determined by astronomical calculation for the Iran Standard Time meridian (52.5°E, UTC+03:30) and has years of 365 or 366 days. It is the modern principal calendar in Iran, and is sometimes also called the Shamsi calendar, Khorshidi calendar. and abbreviated as SH, HS or, by analogy with AH, AHSh.

The Ancient Iran Solar calendar is one of the oldest calendars in the world, as well as the most accurate solar calendar in use today. Since the calendar uses astronomical calculation for determining the vernal equinox, it has no intrinsic error. It is older than the Lunar Hijri calendar used by the majority of Muslims (known in the West as the Islamic calendar): the Hijrah, the journey of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in the year 622. Unlike the latter, its years are solar years rather than lunar years.

Each of the twelve months corresponds with a zodiac sign; their names are the same as ancient Zoroastrian names from the Zoroastrian calendar – in Afghanistan on the other hand, the names of the zodiacal signs are used instead. The first six months have 31 days, the next five have 30 days, and the last month has 29 days in usual years but 30 days in leap years. The ancient Iranian New Year's Day, which is called Nowruz, always falls on the March equinox. While Nowruz is celebrated by communities in a wide range of countries from the Balkans to Mongolia, the Solar Hijri calendar itself remains only in official use in Iran and Afghanistan.

A Solar Hijri calendar of year 1383SH showing the second month of Ordibehesht (thus April–May 2004; see conversion table below). The months' name comes from the Avestan word for Asha.


Epochal date

The calendar's epoch (first year) corresponds to the Hijrah in 622 CE, which is the same as the epoch of the Lunar Hijri calendar but as it is a solar calendar, the two calendars' year numbers does not coincide with each other and are slowly drifting apart, being about 43 years apart as of 2023.

Days per month

The first six months (Farvardin–Shahrivar) have 31 days, the next five (Mehr–Bahman) have 30 days, and the last month (Esfand) has 29 days in common years or 30 days in leap years. This is a simplification of the Jalali calendar, in which the commencement of the month is tied to the sun's passage from one zodiacal sign to the next. The sun is travelling fastest through the signs in early January (Dey) and slowest in early July (Tir). The current time between the March and September equinoxes is about 186 days and 10 hours, the opposite duration about 178 days, 20 hours, due to the eccentricity of Earth's orbit. (These times will change slowly due to precession of the Earth's apsides, becoming inverted after around 11 500 years.)

Leap years

The Iranian Solar calendar produces a five-year leap year interval after about every seven four-year leap year intervals.[citation needed] It usually follows a 33-year subcycle with occasional interruptions by a single 29-year subcycle. The reason for this behaviour is (as explained above) that it tracks the observed vernal equinox.

Some predictive algorithms had been suggested, but were inaccurate due to confusion between the average tropical year (365.2422 days) and the mean interval between spring equinoxes (365.2424 days). These algorithms are not generally used (see Accuracy).

New Year's Day

The Ancient Iranian Solar calendar year begins at the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere: on the midnight in the interval between the two consecutive solar noons that includes the instant of the March equinox.[citation needed] Hence, the first mid-day is on the last day of one calendar year, and the second mid-day is on the first day (Nowruz) of the next year.


Order Days Persian (Iran) Dari (Afghanistan) Kurdish (Iran) Pashto Azerbaijani Equivalent in Gregorian
Native Script Romanized Native Script Romanized Sorani Script Kurmanji Script Native Script Romanized Arabic Script Latin Script
1 31 فروردین Farvardin حمل Hamal (Aries) خاکەلێوە Xakelêwe وری Wray (Aries) آغلار-گۆلر Ağlar-gülər March – April
2 31 اردیبهشت Ordibehesht ثور Sawr (Taurus) گوڵان Gullan (Banemer) غويی Ǧwayáy (Taurus) گۆلن Gülən April – May
3 31 خرداد Khordad جوزا Jawzā (Gemini) جۆزەردان Cozerdan غبرګولی Ǧbargoláy (Gemini) قؽزاران Qızaran May – June
4 31 تیر Tir سرطان Saraṭān (Cancer) پووشپەڕ Pûşper چنګاښ Čungā́x̌ (Cancer) قوْرا بیشیرن Qora bişirən June – July
5 31 مرداد / امرداد Mordad / Amordad اسد Asad (Leo) گەلاوێژ Gelawêj زمری Zmaráy (Leo) قۇیرۇق دوْغان Quyruq doğan July – August
6 31 شهریور Shahrivar سنبله Sonbola (Virgo) خەرمانان Xermanan وږی Wáǵay (Virgo) زۇمار Zumar August – September
7 30 مهر Mehr میزان Mizān (Libra) ڕەزبەر Rezber تله Tә́la (Libra) خزل Xəzəl September – October
8 30 آبان Aban عقرب ʿAqrab (Scorpio) گەڵاڕێزان Xezellwer (Gelarêzan) لړم Laṛám (Scorpio) قؽروْو Qırov October – November
9 30 آذر Azar قوس Qaws (Sagittarius) سەرماوەز Sermawez ليندۍ Lindә́i (Sagittarius) آذر Azər November – December
10 30 دی Dey جدی Jadi (Capricorn) بەفرانبار Befranbar مرغومی Marǧúmay (Capricorn) چیلله Çillə December – January
11 30 بهمن Bahman دلو Dalvæ (Aquarius) ڕێبەندان Rêbendan سلواغه Salwāǧá (Aquarius) دوْندۇران Donduran January – February
12 29/30 اسفند / اسپند Esfand / Espand حوت Hūt (Pisces) ڕەشەمە Reşeme كب Kab (Pisces) بایرام Bayram February – March

The first day of the calendar year, Nowruz ("New Day"), is the greatest festival of the year in Iran, Afghanistan, and some surrounding historically Persian-influenced regions. The celebration is filled with many festivities and runs a course of 13 days, the last day of which is called siz-dah bedar ("13 to outdoor").

The Dari (Afghan Persian) month names are the signs of Zodiac. They were used in Iran in the early 20th century when the solar calendar was being used.

Days of the week

In the Iranian calendar, every week begins on Saturday and ends on Friday. The names of the days of the week are as follows: shanbeh, yekshanbeh, doshanbeh, seshanbeh, chahārshanbeh, panjshanbeh and jom'eh (yek, do, se, chahār, and panj are the Persian words for the numbers one to five). The name for Friday, jom'eh, comes from Arabic (جمعه). Jom'eh is sometimes referred to by the native Persian name, ādineh [ɒːdiːne] (آدینه). In some Islamic countries, like Iran and Afghanistan, Friday is the weekly holiday.

Calculating the day of the week is easy, using an anchor date. One good such date is Sunday, 1 Farvardin 1372, which equals 21 March 1993. Assuming the 33-year cycle approximation, move back by one weekday to jump ahead by one 33-year cycle. Similarly, to jump back by one 33-year cycle, move ahead by one weekday.

As in the Gregorian calendar, dates move forward exactly one day of the week with each passing year, except if there is an intervening leap day when they move two days. The anchor date 1 Farvardin 1372 is chosen so that its 4th, 8th, ..., 32nd anniversaries come immediately after leap days, yet the anchor date itself does not immediately follow a leap day.

Current usage


A Persian-language contract published in Tehran on 14 April 1910, which used Lunar Hijri calendar

On 21 February 1911, the second Iranian parliament adopted as the official calendar of Iran the Jalali sidereal calendar with months bearing the names of the twelve constellations of the zodiac and the years named for the animals of the duodecennial cycle; it remained in use until 1925. The present Iranian calendar was legally adopted on 31 March 1925, under the early Pahlavi dynasty. The law said that the first day of the year should be the first day of spring in "the true solar year", "as it has been" ever so. It also fixed the number of days in each month, which previously varied by year with the sidereal zodiac. It revived the ancient Persian names, which are still used. It also set the epoch to the Hijrah. It also deprecated the 12-year cycles of the Chinese-Uighur calendar, which were not officially sanctioned but were commonly used.

Earlier starting year (500 BC discovered and from 1975–1979 it was reset to its original date of 500 BC)

In 1975, Iranian scholars discovered that this solar calendar was in practice as early as the Achaemenid Era. Therefore, the Pahlavi Government under the orders of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi changed the origin of the calendar to the beginning of Cyrus the Great's reign as its first year, rather than the Hijrah of Muhammad. Overnight, the year changed from 1354 to 2534. The change lasted until the Iranian revolution in 1979, at which time the Iranian government reverted the epoch to the Hijrah.


Afghanistan legally adopted the official Jalali calendar in 1922 but with different month names. Afghanistan uses Arabic names of the zodiacal signs; for example, the 1978 Saur Revolution took place in the second month of the Solar Hijri calendar (Persian Ordibehesht; Saur is named after Taurus). The Solar Hijri calendar has been until recently the official calendar of the government of Afghanistan, and all national holidays and administrative issues have been fixed according to the Solar Hijri calendar.

However the Taliban have imposed the lunar Hijri calendar on Afghanistan during both periods of their rule. Under the Taliban's first rule (1996–2001), the lunar Hijri calendar was imposed, thus changing the year overnight from 1375 to 1417. Effective 30 July 2022 (the Islamic New Year of the lunar Hijri calendar), the Taliban have once again imposed the lunar calendar. Thus the year once again leaped forward, this time from 1401 to 1444.


Tajikistan does not use the Solar Hijri calendar and never did so, despite being part of the Persian-speaking world. Although the country does celebrate Nowruz, the official New Year's Day in Tajikstan is 1 January in the Gregorian calendar, which is also the case in other non-Persian speaking Iranian or Turkic communities ranging from Eastern Europe to Western China. Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe, is taken from the Solar Hijri calendar and translates to "Monday" in Persian.

Comparison with Gregorian calendar

The Solar Hijri year begins about 21 March of each Gregorian year and ends about 20 March of the next year. To convert the Solar Hijri year into the equivalent Gregorian year add 621 or 622 years to the Solar Hijri year depending on whether the Solar Hijri year has or has not begun.

Correspondence of Solar Hijri and Gregorian calendars (Solar Hijri leap years are marked *)
Solar Hijri year Gregorian year Solar Hijri year Gregorian year
1 1354* 21 March 1975 – 20 March 1976 1387* 20 March 2008 – 20 March 2009
2 1355 21 March 1976 – 20 March 1977 1388 21 March 2009 – 20 March 2010
3 1356 21 March 1977 – 20 March 1978 1389 21 March 2010 – 20 March 2011
4 1357 21 March 1978 – 20 March 1979 1390 21 March 2011 – 19 March 2012
5 1358* 21 March 1979 – 20 March 1980 1391* 20 March 2012 – 20 March 2013
6 1359 21 March 1980 – 20 March 1981 1392 21 March 2013 – 20 March 2014
7 1360 21 March 1981 – 20 March 1982 1393 21 March 2014 – 20 March 2015
8 1361 21 March 1982 – 20 March 1983 1394 21 March 2015 – 19 March 2016
9 1362* 21 March 1983 – 20 March 1984 1395* 20 March 2016 – 20 March 2017
10 1363 21 March 1984 – 20 March 1985 1396 21 March 2017 – 20 March 2018
11 1364 21 March 1985 – 20 March 1986 1397 21 March 2018 – 20 March 2019
12 1365 21 March 1986 – 20 March 1987 1398 21 March 2019 – 19 March 2020
13 1366* 21 March 1987 – 20 March 1988 1399* 20 March 2020 – 20 March 2021
14 1367 21 March 1988 – 20 March 1989 1400 21 March 2021 – 20 March 2022
15 1368 21 March 1989 – 20 March 1990 1401 21 March 2022 – 20 March 2023
16 1369 21 March 1990 – 20 March 1991 1402 21 March 2023 – 19 March 2024
17 1370* 21 March 1991 – 20 March 1992 1403* 20 March 2024 – 20 March 2025
18 1371 21 March 1992 – 20 March 1993 1404 21 March 2025 – 20 March 2026
19 1372 21 March 1993 – 20 March 1994 1405 21 March 2026 – 20 March 2027
20 1373 21 March 1994 – 20 March 1995 1406 21 March 2027 – 19 March 2028
21 1374 21 March 1995 – 19 March 1996 1407 20 March 2028 – 19 March 2029
22 1375* 20 March 1996 – 20 March 1997 1408* 20 March 2029 – 20 March 2030
23 1376 21 March 1997 – 20 March 1998 1409 21 March 2030 – 20 March 2031
24 1377 21 March 1998 – 20 March 1999 1410 21 March 2031 – 19 March 2032
25 1378 21 March 1999 – 19 March 2000 1411 20 March 2032 – 19 March 2033
26 1379* 20 March 2000 – 20 March 2001 1412* 20 March 2033 – 20 March 2034
27 1380 21 March 2001 – 20 March 2002 1413 21 March 2034 – 20 March 2035
28 1381 21 March 2002 – 20 March 2003 1414 21 March 2035 – 19 March 2036
29 1382 21 March 2003 – 19 March 2004 1415 20 March 2036 – 19 March 2037
30 1383* 20 March 2004 – 20 March 2005 1416* 20 March 2037 – 20 March 2038
31 1384 21 March 2005 – 20 March 2006 1417 21 March 2038 – 20 March 2039
32 1385 21 March 2006 – 20 March 2007 1418 21 March 2039 – 19 March 2040
33 1386 21 March 2007 – 19 March 2008 1419 20 March 2040 – 19 March 2041


Its determination of the start of each year is astronomically accurate year-to-year as opposed to the more fixed Gregorian or Common Era calendar which, averaged out, has the same year length, achieving the same accuracy (a differently patterned calendar of 365 days for three consecutive years plus an extra day in the next year, save for three exceptions to the latter in a 400-year cycle). The start of the year and its number of days remain fixed to one of the two equinoxes, the astronomically important days when day and night each have the same duration. It results in less variability of all celestial bodies when comparing a specific calendar date from one year to others.

Time of the vernal equinox relative to the start of the year for the (astronomical) Solar Hijri calendar, with 29-year, 33-year and 37-year subcycles marked

Birashk leap year algorithm

Iranian mathematician Ahmad Birashk (1907–2002) proposed an alternative means of determining leap years. Birashk's book came out in 1993, and his algorithm was based on the same apparently erroneous presumptions as used by Zabih Behruz in his book from 1952. Birashk's technique avoids the need to determine the moment of the astronomical equinox, replacing it with a very complex leap year structure. Years are grouped into cycles which begin with four normal years, after which every fourth subsequent year in the cycle is a leap year. Cycles are grouped into grand cycles of either 128 years (composed of cycles of 29, 33, 33, and 33 years) or 132 years, containing cycles of 29, 33, 33, and 37 years. A great grand cycle is composed of 21 consecutive 128-year grand cycles and a final 132 grand cycle, for a total of 2820 years. The pattern of normal and leap years which began in 1925, will not repeat until the year 4745.

The accuracy of the system proposed by Birashk and other recent authors, such as Zabih Behruz, has been thoroughly refuted and shown to be less precise than the traditional 33-year cycle.

Each 2820-year great grand cycle proposed by Birashk contains 2137 normal years of 365 days and 683 leap years of 366 days, with the average year length over the great grand cycle of 365.24219852. This average is just 0.00000026 (2.6×10−7) of a day shorter than Newcomb's value for the mean tropical year of 365.24219878 days, but differs considerably more from the mean vernal equinox year of 365.242362 days, which means that the new year, intended to fall on the vernal equinox, would drift by half a day over the course of a cycle.

See also

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