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Zoroastrianism

 New Year's Day, fire, books, & information


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New Year's Day and the importance of light in Zoroastrianism:

Zoroastrian rituals are conducted before a sacred fire. Some outsiders believe that they actually worship fire. This is not true. They regard fire as a symbol of their God, and they cherish the light that it produces. Light is seen as energy, a natural force that is powerful and necessary for survival.

Hannah M.G. Shapero "...a visual artist deeply devoted to Zoroastrian scholarly studies" writes:

"Noruz is the Iranian New Year, which is celebrated each year at the Spring Equinox, around March 21. It is the most important holiday in the Zoroastrian calendar, and brings with it a wealth of symbolism, history, myth, and joyous festivities. There are many layers of meaning to Noruz: astronomical, mythical, historical, ritual, and spiritual."

"The word Noruz, in Persian, means "New Day," and the primal origin of the festival is in the universal rhythms of Earth and nature. In the "temperate" zones of the Northern Hemisphere, including Iran, the spring equinox signals the beginning of warmer weather and the growing season. In ancient Iran, it was the time to begin plowing fields and sowing seeds for crops. The equinox also marks the moment when, in the twenty-four hour round of the day, daylight begins to be longer than night."

"From its earliest origins Zoroastrianism has honored these natural rhythms and cycles, both with agricultural festivals and with cosmic commemorations of yearly astronomical events. The world, fashioned by the Wise Lord, shows forth the divine in all aspects of nature, and that divine Immanence is honored in festivals like Noruz, in which divine symbolism is joined with a celebration of the renewal of the earth in spring."

"In Zoroastrianism, light is the great symbol of God and Goodness, whether in the light of the sun or in the sacred fire. The Spring Equinox and the lengthening of the days is thus a symbol of the victory of Light over the cold and darkness of winter." 1


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Books on Zorastrianiam:


Information websites:

  • The Ancient Iranian Cultural & Religious Research & Development Center maintains a Canadian website to promote the teachings of Zarathushtra. See: http://www.ancientiran.com

  • Avesta -- Zoroastrian Archives is an extensive resource of Zoroastrian information at: http://www.avesta.org/avesta.html

  • Internet Sacred Text Archive: Zoraoastrianism," contains online editions of the three volume Avesta series, as well as the five volume Pahlavi series at: http://www.sacred-texts.com/

  • Parsis, Iranis, Zarathushtis -- ALL under one roof," has "everything ... from food to Zoroastrian studies and from Charities and baby names to Business and Youth !" See: http://zoroastrians.net/

  • World of Traditional Zoroastrianism describes the tenets of the religion, and has articles on history, prayers, doctrines, rituals, and the sin & harm of interfaith marriages. See: http://www.zoroastrianism.com/

  • The Zarathushrtian Assembly is "... a non-political religious corporation established with the aim of studying and disseminating information on the Divine Message of Zarathushtra and promoting the Zarathushtrian Fellowship." See: http://www.zoroastrian.org

  • Zarathustra is "Dedicated to promoting the Spiritual Philosophy of Zarathushtra & Zoroastrianism." See: http://www.zarathushtra.com

  • The Zoroastrian Association of Shiraz promotes the Zoroastrian religion, teachings and culture to the world at: http://shiraz.freeservers.com/ 

  • The marriage ceremony of the Parsis is described at: http://www.avesta.org/

  • Zorastrian Kids Korner is a website designed for children. It discusses basic Zoroastrian beliefs, famous Zorastrians, and includes games, crafts and prayers. See: http://www.zoroastriankids.com/

References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today. 

  1. Hannah M.G. Shapero, "Noruz, The Fire of Spring," at: http://www.vohuman.org/

Copyright © 1996 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update and review: 2011-AUG-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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