Federal Law > Religious Practices > Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism

 
History. Zoroastrianism was named after its founder, Zoroaster, and began in Persia at a time that is in dispute, but is approximately 1000 BCE. According to Zoroastrianism life is a constant struggle between good and evil. Zoroaster encouraged people to accept the God Ahura Mazda, the source of all good, and renounce Angra Mainyu, the source of all evil. Some scholars theorize that Zoroastrianism may have affected Judaism and as a result Christianity because of some contact between Zoroastrians aroung 540 BCE. Zoroastrians believed in a savior to be born, resurrection of the dead and the destruction and resurrection of the world. Today Zoroastrianism is primarily in India and Iran. However, it can also be found in Canada and the U.S., Europe, England and Australia.

Beliefs and Practices. Zoroastrians believe that the God Ahura Mazda created people with the freedom to choose between good and evil. This religion teaches three virtues: good thoughts, good words and good deeds. It also teaches that we have one life, unlike religions of the time in neighboring India. The struggle during a person's life between good and evil is believed to determine the person's destiny in the after-life.

Zoroastrians believe that people who follow Ahura Mazda will go to a good place and evil persons will go to a bad existence where they will endure suffering. At the end of time, however, both good and evil persons will be purified. Zoroastrians also believe that their religion should not be pushed on others as all religions have merit.

Worship is conducted in temples or homes where consecrated fire burns. There are three types of consecrated fire and the oldest has been burning over 1000 years. The Zoroastrian year includes a number of holidays which include six seasonal festivals to honor sky, water, earth, plants, animals and man.

Zoroastrian writings include the Avesta and a variety of other texts which include hymns, laws, commentaries and explanations of doctrines.

Calendar and Holidays. A good review of the Zoroastrian calendar and holidays can be found at:

http://www.avesta.org/zcal.html
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