The main component of the Persian culture is always love. Whether it's within the sweet verses of Persian Poets or through the spiritual love of Sufis for God. Persia spread love and Iran for millennia. Long before Valentine's Day, it existed in Persia a day to celebrate love and express respect toward women. This day is called "Sepandarmazgan", or more recently, "Esfandegan".
As a symbol of motherhood, Sepandarmazgan was a feast to honor women and the concept of fertility. According to the custom, all women put on a pedestal and men offered them gifts to demonstrate their respect. During that day, all should listen and obey women, the sole sovereign rulers. Thus this day is an eternal manifestation of love and respect toward women. The 11th-century historian Gardizi tells us that sometimes called “Mard-Giran”, literally “possessing men”
Besides this main ritual dedicated to women, the great Persian scholar Al-Biruni recalls that people ate grapes and pomegranate seeds on this day. For long, the 5th day of Spandarmad was the day of “Jashn-e Barzegaran”, the Farmers’ Festival. Planting trees worshipped The earth goddess Sepandarmazwas with the hope that she consents to bring good harvests.
Contrary to Nowruz and Yalda, two of the Persian deep rooted ceremonies, Sepandarmazgan has slightly faded away in popular culture of Iran but is now the object of a renewed interest. Even though people celebrate Valentine’s Day in Iran as well as everywhere in the world, a few days earlier, it has not outshined its ancesto. Still the occasion for many couples to celebrate their love, in the purest Iranian tradition. They offer themselves gifts, as reminded by the red hearts embellishing at the window shops. Before maybe remembering together the famous Persian love story of Leyli and Majnun in mythical poems of Shahnameh. AlsoShirin and Khosrow in the collection of Nezami’s Panj Ganj as a UNESCO World Heritage.