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Iranian calendar
Persian: shmārī hijrā khurshīdī

Calendar system of Iran, which is different both from Gregorian and the Muslim Calendar. Iranian calendar is widely used nationally in Iran, but the Gregorian is also used, in particular for international relations.
Similar to the Muslim calendar, it begins with the hijra of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. But it is solar, having 365 days a year, the same as the Gregorian. In comparison, the Muslim has 354 days a year. New Year is celebrated on the first day of spring, which in Iran is generally on March 21. First day of spring is the day when night and day is equally long.
The year in the Iranian calendar is 621 years behind the Gregorian, except between January 1 until New Year when it is 622 years. The Gregorian year 2010 corresponds to the Iranian year 1389 (1388 before March 21).
The Iranian calendar has 12 months, taking their names from ancient Iranian months. The first 6 months have 31 days, the next 5 have 30 days, and the last month is 29 days, or 30 days in leap years. There is no formal setting of leap years, roughly it happens every 4 years, but it is solely determined from the first day of spring.
The present calendar was based on older calendars dating back to the 1st millennium BCE, reflecting one of the first cultures to develop a calendar system, and then in particular a solar calendar.
The present system was modified in 1925, becoming more simplified and with the lengths of the months fixed. Between 1976 and 1979, the calendar was set to begin with the birth of Cyrus 2 the Great, adding 780 years.

By Tore Kjeilen