Zoroastrianism is the first recorded monotheistic religion of the world. The date of it’s founding is not certain, but scholars generally agree that it began between 2000 and 1800 BCE.
The founder of Zoroastrianism was a man called Zarathustra (or Zoroaster as called by the Greeks). It is said that Zarathustra saw the God (Ahura Mazda (the wise Lord)). It is believed that during this encounter Zarathustra feld conscious of His presence and heard His words, words which are recorded in the five songs or poems he subsequently composed. These songs or poems are called “Gathas”, which forms part of the Zoroastrian sacred text called the Avesta.
The beliefs of Zoroastrians include:
- A belief in a single supreme God, Ahura Mazda.
- A belief in Asha, a form of righteous natural law.
- A belief that a Saoshyant (saviour) will be born of a virgin, the saviour will be from the lineage of Zarathustra. This saviour will raise the dead and pass final judgment on everyone.
One school of thought in the religion believes that there is a cosmic dualism between: Ahura Mazda (the Supreme Being) and an evil spirit of violence and death called Angra Mainyu. This cosmic conflict involves the entire universe and humanity is required to choose which to follow. It is believed that evil and Angra Mainyu will be destroyed at the end of time and Goodness will be universal.
Another school of thought within Zoroastrianism believes that the battle between good and evil as an ethical dualism within human consciousness. The symbol for Zoroastrianism is the Faravahar which represents the spirit of human beings.
Ceremonies are performed in front of a sacred fire (fire is the symbol of Ahura Mazda. Worship is comprised of prayers and symbolic ceremonies.
There are 7 major Zoroastrian Holy Days:
- Maidhyoizaremaya (April/May)
- Maidhyoishema (June/July)
- Paitshahya (September)
- Ayathrima (October)
- Maidhyairya (January)
- Hamaspathmaedaya, Muktad (March)
- NoRoz (March)