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Origin:

Founded before 6th century BCE by the Prophet Zoroaster who was born in Bronze Age from his first vision of Vohu Manah at the age of 30 while taking a dip in Daiti River by the Almighty which the Parsis called in their language as Ahura Mazda in Persia or modern day Iran. There are no notions for reincarnation & they believe in the end of time when the world will be completely revived. The sacred scripture is called Avesta originally written in Old Iranian Language other than the modern day Persian. It used to be the greatest religion in the world during  Sassanid Rule 228BCE when it was at its peak where the empire had promoted the form of Zoroaster to the regions of Central Asia, South Asia, Middle East & even the horizon of their thought increased to Europe & China where even to this day ruins of their temple were found in Zinjiang region of China. With the invasion of Alexander the Great  III of Macedon in 330BCE the downfall of the golden Zoroaster era started when Alexander invading army toppling the Achaemenid Empire where after they burnt the imperial library & the archives where the sacred the texts of Holy Avesta were kept in the original form written by Prophet Zoroaster. Only the fraction of the text survives which later on rewritten by organizing few priests of Zoroastrianism during the Middle Ages when Persia was facing the threat of Arab invasion who under the Umayyad Caliphate toppled the Persian Empire completely & enforced several laws including Jizya which even Persians used to imposed on non Zuruthashtra & conversion missions  were organised to carried out the conversion of non Muslims to Islam where after the 7th century they were left with two choices either to migrate to other neutral regions where they have more acceptable governments or to convert themselves to Islam.

Religious Scripture:

Avestan is the sacred holy book originally written by Zoroaster in the Old Iranian Language Avestan. After the loss of the original teaching due the fire incident of the Imperial Library by the invading Alexander III of Macedon only the fraction of it survived. During the 7th century under the Umayyad Caliphate few priests of Zoroastrianism organised the teachings of Zoroaster. Now the available sacred religious text is divided into the several books which are written in the Avestan script remain to this day are Gathas, Yasna, Visperad and the Vendidad. Along with these texts is the communal household prayer book called the Khordeh Avesta, which contains the Yashts and the Siroza. The rest of the materials from the Avesta are called “Avestan fragments”. The secondary books which are available though not scriptures but the religious works written during Middle Ages in Pahlavi script: Denkard, Bundahishn, Menog-i Khrad, Selections of Zadspram, Jamasp Namag, Epistles of Manucher, Rivayats, Dadestan-i-Denig, and Arda Viraf Namag. All Middle Persian texts written on Zoroastrianism during this time period are considered secondary works on the religion, and not scripture. Nonetheless, these texts have a strong influence on the religion.

Rituals & Beliefs:

Parsis or Zoroastrians’ don’t believe in reincarnation. In Zoroastrianism corpse is host of decay or druj. The Practice of ritual exposure is practiced only by Parsis of Indian Subcontinent where it is not illegal at the” Tower of Silence” whereas where the other disposal methods are available the Zoroastrians either cremate or bury in grave which are cased with lime mortar. Marriage outside religion leads to expulsion from the community. Acceptance of child in the community is only if the father is Parsi otherwise there is no acceptance. Practice like these has lead to further decline of community which suffers from already High infant mortality rate of 200 births per 1000 deaths. Due to this the Zoroastrian community principle seat based in Los Angeles & Paris has decided to discontinue these types of system & invite or encourage couples to accept partner outside their faith. They believe in Water & Fire as main two forms of life. Rituals or worshipping can be performed in the presence of any source of light which has shine. Fire Temple is the place where manor religious activities are performed like marriage, purification, religious faith acceptance ceremony for children & other important daily rituals.

Festivals:


  • Nouruz, New Year’s Day. In the Fasli/Bastani variant of the Zoroastrian calendar, this day is always the day of the spring equinox (nominally falling on March 21).
    In the Shahenshahi and Kadmi calendars, which do not account for leap years, the New Year’s Day has drifted ahead by over 200 days. These latter two variants of the calendar, which are only followed by the Zoroastrians of India, celebrate the spring equinox as Jamshed-i Nouroz, with New Year’s Day then being celebrated in July/August as Pateti (see below).
  • Pateti, “(day) of penitence” (from patet “confession,” hence also repentance and penitence). This is actually a day of introspection, and originally occurred on the last day (or on the last 5 days) of the calendar year. For reasons related to single day occasions being observed over six days, (the last day of) Pateti came to fall on (the first day of) the New Year’s Day celebrations, and in India (Shahenshahi/Kadmi calendars) came to be “celebrated” on New Year’s Day itself. Although the name has been retained, Pateti is no longer a day of introspection.
  • Sadeh, a mid-winter festival traditionally celebrated 100 days (hence sadeh) after the first day of winter, or alternatively, 50 days (100 days and nights) before New Year’s Day. Because this festival involves building a bonfire, it is also called Adar-Jashan.
  • Zartosht No-Diso, the death anniversary of Zarathushtra, which is celebrated on the 11th day (Khorshed) of the 10th month (Dae). In the seasonal calendar, Zoroaster’s death anniversary falls on December 26.
  • Khordad Sal, which celebrates the birth anniversary of Zoroaster. It falls on the 6th day ([K]hordad) of the 1st month (Farvardin). In the seasonal calendar, Zoroaster’s birth anniversary falls on March 26.

Zoroastrian Calender:

The Shahenshahi and Kadmi variants of the calendar do not inter-calcate leap years and hence the day of the Gregorian calendar year on which these days are celebrated shifts ahead with time. The third variant of the Zoroastrian calendar, known as either Fasli (in India) or Bastani (in Iran), intercalcates according to Gregorian calendar rules and thus remains synchronous with the seasons.

The month-names (with Avestan language names in parentheses), in the ordinal sequence used today, are:

1. Frawardin (Frauuašinąm) 

2. Ardwahisht (Ašahe Vahištahe)

3. Khordad (Haurvatātō)

4. Tir (Tištryehe)

5. Amurdad (Amərətātō)

6. Shahrewar (Xšaθrahe Vairyehe)

7. Mihr (Miθrahe)

8. Aban (Apąm)

9. Adur (Āθrō)

10. Dae (Daθušō [Ahurahe Mazdå])

11. Wahman (Vaŋhə̄uš Manaŋhō)

12. Spendarmad (Spəntayā̊ Ārmatōiš)

 

Demographics:

As per 2004 estimates the number of Zoroastrians worldwide was estimated at between 145,000 and 210,000. In the Indian census of 2001, the Parsis numbered 69,601, representing about 0.006% of the total population of India, with a concentration in and around the city of Mumbai. Due to a low birth rate and high rate of emigration, demographic trends project that by 2020 the Parsis will number only about 23,000 or 0.002% of the total population of India. The Parsis would then cease to be called a community and will be labeled a “tribe”. By 2008, the birth-to-death ratio was 1:5—200 births per year to 1,000 deaths.

In Iran, emigration, out-marriage and low birth rates are likewise leading to a decline in the Zoroastrian population, which is currently estimated at fewer than 20,000.

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