Following my previous article on the “ancient Avestan calendar,” i was asked about the name of the seasons in Avesta and the Zoroastrian scripture. Before answering the question, I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to read my articles and providing me with valuable feedback. The following very interesting comment was made by SYN. I would like to share it with you once more and then provide the name of the seasons in Avesta.
“In fact the Fasli (SEASONAL AVESTAN) Calendar is almost a replica [with some slight variation] of the Old Druid/Celtic calendar, which itself has six major Festivals or Gahambars, all around the same time of the year, and both ignore the two neo-pagan adjustments of Imbolc [2 Feb] and Lugnasaddha [2 August].
However the major difference is that while the Celtic/Druid calendar regards ‘All Souls’ to be at Halloween in early November, the Fasli Calendar regards ‘All Souls’ to be at the Vernal Equinox in mid March [almost the opposite ends of the year], yet in all other respects the Ayathrem Gahambar [mid/late october ] is very similar to Halloween and is even called the festival of bringing home the herds [same as the Celtic Halloween]. Like Zorastrians the Classical Romans likewise celebrated All Souls in the earlier part of the year [May], however the Celts regarded Beltane and Halloween as very similar times and there is evidence to suggest that the Celts likewise honoured the ancestors and the dead at Beltane in May, which may point to a more authentic and more ancient origin for the Fasli Calendar. It was only the Christian Church that finalised All Souls at Halloween around the 11th century.”
The name of the seasons in Avesta occur for most part in connection with the six major thanksgiving or “gahan-bar” festivals. Here are their names:
SPRING; “zaræm” literally “the green season, season of growth and glow.” Compare Lithuanian. zalias “green,” zelvas “greenish;” O.C.S. zelenu, Pol. zielony, Rus. zelenyj “green;” It is possible that this whole group of yellow-green words is related to an ancient indo european base base ghlei- “to shine, glitter, glow.” Also, Old.Enlish. groeni, related to O.E. growan “to grow,” O.N. grænn, Dan. grøn, Du.groen, Ger. grün), from base gro- “grow,” through sense of “color of living plants.”
SUMMER; “shem” is the “hot season of the year,” also appears in vendidad or later avestan texts as “háma/hámin.” Compare Skt. sama Old.Irish. sam, Old.Welsh ham, “summer.” Also, Old .Slavic., Old.Norse., Old.High.German. sumar
AUTUMN; “shahím” is the time off gathering crops. The verb is related to harvest, harvesting. It is the occasion of bringing home the last of the harvest. Germanic. sæjanan, Old.Norse. sa, Old.Slavic. saian, Old.High.German. sawen, Goth. saian, “source of.”
Unlike the other three seasons, AUTUMN or FALL names across the Indo European languages leave no evidence that there ever was a common word for it. Many “autumn words mean “end, end of summer,” or “harvest.”
WINTER; there are a number of words for winter in avestan, “yaar,” “cared/sared” and “zima.”
Avestan “YAAR” is simply year in english, jahr in german. The ancient Iranians like the ancient norse and the ancient anglo-saxons counted years in “winters.” Also avestan “cared/sared,” farsi saal/caal means originally “cold season,” also used as year. Compare Old.English. cald, Germanic kaldaz O.S. kald, O.H.G., Ger. kalt, Old.Norse. kaldr, Goth. kalds “cold.”
ZIMA is the exclusive name of winter in avesta. Compare with lithuanian ziema “winter,” also Polish and Ukrainian ZIMA/Зима (Source: Mr. Marcin Grossman.) Farsi Zeme-stan/zeme-stoon comes from the same root.
The word probably means “barren land.” Compare Avestan “zemö,” land, country with Polish and Ukrainian Ziemia/Земля (Source: Mr. Marcin Grossman.) My sincere thanks to Mr.Grossman for his contribution.