A Day to Celebrate Love, Earth and Women
Humankind, a simple, weak creature with no powerful physical abilities but intelligent has been a part of nature throughout history before the agricultural revolution. Nothing more and nothing less. Like so many other living creatures on this planet, it would live, regenerate, die, and return to nature. Human beings are a heritage of hunter-gatherer people that still inherit their social, emotional, and mythological evolution. Nature has sometimes kindly opened the doors of his mercy to a part of human beings, and sometimes flogged his wrath upon them. Humans named each part of nature as a God. For its kindness and anger, they were given a name or trait and justified matters that could not be explained. This may have been the beginning of the spread of natural godly myths. Humans quickly began to believe in the gods and goddesses of nature. Some good and kind and some hard, cruel and bad. With the agricultural revolution and settlement, the function of the gods and goddesses became even greater. Humans needed to wait a year full of mild rain without flooding to produce enough crops and ask their myths to bless their crops and take care of the hardships.
In ancient Iran, myths were also the enlightening guide of the movement of societies, civilizations, and city-states. Multi-gods have disappeared in dualism, and there is evil power against every good god to always be at war with one another. Humans also needed the support of gods to protect against the forces of evil. The solution was to show respect and sacrifice to the desired God. After the agricultural revolution, unlike what we are seeing today, women have had a far better status because of their ability to farm and provide for their livelihoods. So the earth was interpreted as a female god who kindly provided human needs.
Every year, before spring and on the fifth day of Esfand (24th February), a ceremony was held to commemorate and thank women and earth in ancient Iran. On this day as Women, Earth and Love Day, people would celebrate and give gifts to daughters and wives, women were exempt from housework and dressed in new clothes, and girls had the right to choose their own husbands on this day. Mother Earth was also celebrated on this day, and thanks to the gifts she had given. Humans could enjoy, at least for one day, kindly and peacefully together. According to Aboureihan Beirouni, “Esfandarmaz” was the god on earth and the patron god and guardian of righteous and virtuous women loving husbands. Women not only enjoyed gifts, but also somehow reigned on this day, and men had to respond their commands. But love …
Love has a very long and varied story, as much as the history of human presence on the earth. Iranians have long been associated with poetry, and part of their stories and myths are deeply rooted in love. Male and female loves. The heroes fell in love with beautiful princesses, were waging wars, heading to the wilderness, missing from their separation and would reach the beloved joiner, or die in their absence. Each of these heroes, princesses, sons and daughters were the starters of a passionate story.
Bijan and Manijeh fall in love with each other, but Bijan is thrown tied-hand into the well. Kei-Khosrow watched the Cup of Jamshid and sent Rostam into Turan to help Bijan captured at the bottom of the well. Rostam dressed a businessman secretly released Bijan and his wife (Manijeh) and brought back to Iran.
Khosrow Parviz falls in love with Shirin, the Christian Princess of Armenia, in the hunting ground. Losing heart and finish. But he had to reclaim his kingdom from Bahram Chobin. He went to Byzantine Empire and Shirin reached the Shirin Palace (Ghasr-e-Shirin). With the help of the Byzantine, it acquired Iran. But in the meantime another man falls in love with Shirin … Farhad. Khosrow put a condition from Shirin to dig up the mountain and obtain the Shirin. Farhad dug every day and every night for Shirin’s love until he died because of Khosrow’s trick.
And thousands upon thousands of other stories that penetrate on the lives and hearts of people and love is vital to life. Love is the beginning and the end of everything. In 1972, some evidence is found for this in Hassanloo Hills. A man and a woman slept in the grave, with the latest kiss since 2800 years ago. They may have accidentally found such lovely in the next millenniums, but maybe love is what it should be. We born as a lover and wish to end with love.