qiv is licensed under  CC BY 2.0

qiv is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Today, Zoroastrians, the oldest monotheistic religion, celebrate Winter Solstice.

Mazdaism, or has it is more commonly known, Zoroastrianism, is considered to be one of the oldest monotheistic religions in history. This religion is based on the teachings of Prophet Zoroaster, and the Supreme Being is Ahura Mazda.

The leading principles of this religion are the belief in the existence of heaven and hell, the Golden Rule, messianism, and free will. It is this free will which has influenced other religions such as Gnosticism, Second Temple Judaism, Christianity, and even Islam.

For thousands of years, forms of Zoroastrianism were the world's most powerful religion also serving as the state religion of the pre-Islamic Iranian empires from around 600 BCE to 650 CE. However, from the 7th century onwards, the religion of Zoroastrianism began to be suppressed. This happened after the Muslims conquered the state of Persia. In modern times, after calculating a recent estimate, it was found that the number of Zoroastrians currently are somewhere between 2.6 million. The majority of them have been found to be living in Iran and India.

The most important text of this religion is considered to be those of the Avesta. This is because the founder, Zoroaster – his native language was also Avesta. It is through this language that most of the historical texts have been written. Even though the place of his birth has been deemed to be uncertain by modern scholars, the amount of his contribution simply cannot be denied.

Zoroastrianism is considered to be the oldest religion amongst all the major religions in the world. However, despite its status and importance, very little is known widely about this religion.

10 Facts About Zoroastrianism
      1. The Zoroastrians believe in only one God, which is Ahura Mazda. This stands for the Wise Lord. According to them, he discovered this world and then passed on all the teachings through the Prophet Zoroaster. Even though this Prophet is not worshipped, all his teachings are strictly followed as the directed path of rightfulness and truth.
      2. Many Western people believe that Zoroastrians are fire worshippers. But actually, this belief is completely wrong. Fire is a symbol which is central to their faith. This is because they believe that fire represents God’s wisdom and light as fire is completely pure.
      3. The religion is split up into two groups of Parsis and Iranians. Even though both of them originate from Persia, these two groups of people speak different languages, look different, have different food, and also possess a different sense of humor.
      4. For a thousand years, Zoroastrianism was considered to be one of the most powerful religions in the world. It was also the official religion in Persia from 600 BCE to 650 CE.
      5. Zoroastrians who lived under Muslim rule suffered religious persecution in the conquest of Persia. They were forced to convert to Islam and pay greater taxes. As a result, Zoroastrianism became a minority religion in Persia.
      6. Zoroastrianism survives in Iran, where the religion began and is practiced most in India, where the descendants of Zoroastrian Persian immigrants live.
      7. Even though Zoroastrianism was considered to be one of the most powerful religions in the world, it has now become a minority religion. It has been reported that less than 200,000 people practice this religion today.
      8. Zoroastrianism has been called by many people to be an ecological religion. This is because they stress a lot of importance in preserving nature as it is the goodness and purity of God.
      9. The Zoroastrians have been known to pray several times a day. Because light or fire represents power, they tend to pray in the direction of the light.
      10. The religion is divided into two sections. The first section consists of Holy Scriptures while the second part is made up of laws, rituals, and observances.

On December 21, Zoroastrians celebrate the winter solstice, Yalda. The triumph of good over evil.

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