DAY (Av. daδuuah-, Pahl. day “creator”), an epithet of Ahura Mazdā (q.v.) that became the name of the tenth month, as well as of the eighth, fifteenth, and twenty-third days in each month of the Zoroastrian calendar (q.v. i). Younger Avestan daδuuah-/daθuš- is a perfect active participle of the verb dā- (IE. *dheh1-, OInd. dhā-,NPers. dādan) “to place, put, create.” In the last sense it was commonly used for the creative acts of Ahura Mazdā, for example, in the words of Darius I (DNa 1-3; Kent, Old Persian, pp. 137-38) “. . . Ahuramazdā who created (adā) this earth, who created yonder heaven” and in Zarathustra’s rhetorical question (Y. 44.3) “Who created (dāt) the path(s) of the sun and the stars?” A noun of agent dātṛ- (OInd. dhātṛ-) “creator” is another common epithet of Ahura Mazdā in both Old and Younger Avestan, as in Yasna 44.7, where Mazdā is invoked as the “creator of everything” (vīspanạm dātārəm), and in the invocation formula “O Ahura Mazdā . . . creator (dātarə) of the material world . . .” (Yt. 1.1, etc.; cf. Kellens). Daδuuah- could mean either “who has created” or, more likely, “who creates” (with present sense comparable to that of vīδuuah- “knowing, wise”; cf. Wackernagel and Debrunner, p. 914), that is, “creator.” Although dātṛ- can be construed with either the accusative or genitive, daδuuah- has ceased to function as a participle and never takes an object. In the formula “We worship the Creator (daδuuaŋ- həm), Ahura Mazdā” the object of creation is thus unspecified. In Pahlavi translations of Avestan texts daδuuah- is always glossed with dādār. In the Sogdian calendar the Old Iranian genitive of daθušō has been preserved as δšcyh, δšcyy/δyšcyy/δəšci,/ and δtš/δatš/, whereas Pahlavi day is derived from the nominative singular daδuuā.
In the calendar reform in the 5th century B.C.E. (cf. Hartner, pp. 756 ff.) the names of Zoroastrian yazatas (benign divinities) were given to the twelve months and the thirty days of each month. The tenth month was named daθušō (māh-) “(month) of the creator”; the first day of each month was called ahurahe mazda (aiiarə) “(day) of Ahura Mazdā,” and the eighth, fifteenth, and twenty-third days also bore the epithet daθušō (aiiarə) “(day) of the Creator.” The thirty-day month was thus divided into two segments of seven days, followed by two segments of eight days (see Nyberg, pp. 128-34).
In Pahlavi, in which daθušō appears as day, the eighth, fifteenth, and twenty-third days are further specified by the days following, for example, day pad ādur, day pad mihr, day pad dēn. According to the Bundahišn (30.10-31.8, 33.15-34.2), the establishment of the names of the deities (thirty amahraspands; see AMƎŠA SPƎNTA) for the thirty days of the month was an essential part of the material creation, especially the creation of finite time, which places a limit on the life span of Ahriman (q.v.). As participants in the battle against Ahriman the three Days function not only as mere day names but also as Ohrmazd’s coworkers, designated as “space” (gāh), “religion” (dēn), and “time” (zamān). In the same text (119.9-13) the “flower” that belongs to each of the thirty amahra-spands is listed: for the Days they are respectively the citron (wādrang), the kʾltk (?), and the fenugreek (šambalī dag).
W. Hartner, “Old Iranian Calendars,” in I. Gershevitch, ed., Camb. Hist. Iran II, pp. 714-92.
W. B. Henning, “Zum soghdischen Kalender,” Orientalia 8, 1939, pp. 87-95.
J. Kellens, “Ahura Mazdā n’est pas un dieu créateur,” in C.-H. de Fouchécour and P. Gignoux, Études irano-aryennes offertes à Gilbert Lazard, Paris, 1989, pp. 217-28.
H. S. Nyberg, “Questions de cosmogonie et de cosmologie mazdéennes II,” JA 219, 1931, pp. 1-134, 193-244.
J. Wackernagel and A. Debrunner, Altindische Grammatik II/2, Göttingen, 1954.
(W. W. Malandra)
Originally Published: December 15, 1994
Last Updated: November 18, 2011
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Vol. VII, Fasc. 2, pp. 163-164