Monthly Archives: July 2012

North American Zoroastrian Congress – August 2012

XVI NORTH AMERICAN ZARATHUSHTI CONGRESS
From Thursday, August 2 to Sunday, August 5, 2012, the XVIth North American Zarathushti Congress will bring together over 600 Zarathushtis (known more commonly as “Zoroastrians”) from across North America. The Congress will be held at the Rye Town Hilton in Rye Brook, New York.
Since the first Zarathushtis came to North America from India and Iran in the last century, the community has sought to maintain its Zarathushti identity. Zoroastrianism was founded between 1500 and 1000 BCE in what is now Iran. The prophet Zarathushtra preached monotheism and was initially persecuted for his teachings. Zarathushtra won the support of the emperor, and Zoroastrianism eventually became the religion of the Persian Empire. The Prophet Zarathushtra preached the importance of “Good Thoughts”, “Good Words”, and “Good Deeds” in the service of one God, over 3,000 years ago. Many religious scholars believe that Zoroastrianism, through the extensive reach of the Persian Empire, influenced the development of Jewish, Christian and Islamic theological beliefs as they relate to the concepts of the soul, heaven and hell, and the duality of good and evil.
The theme for the Congress is “Zarathushti Existence in the Contemporary World.” Discussions will be held on Zarathushti core beliefs, rituals and practices and issues affecting the next generation, thereby linking the values of an ancient religion to issues of contemporaneous relevance. Dr. Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council, will deliver the keynote address, “Building A New World Order – The Role of Zarathushti Values”. An exhibit, “The Zarathushti Religion for All Time”, will allow Congress delegates to experience the evolution of the Zarathushti community from the age of ancient Iran to that of modern day New York.
For more information and any questions regarding the event, please contact Homi Gandhi, Chair, Congress Public Relations Committee at homi@zagny.org or 201-410-8963

Congress-Press Release

1500 years old Fire & YAZD Zoroastrian ceremonies

Zoroastrians’ Fire Temple and Catacomb

The Yazd province is home to the largest population of Zoroastrians in Iran. Zoroaster was the ancient prophet of Persians, who had brought a religion, Zoroastrism, based on humanity and goodwill, which is still very alive.

Catacomb means Cemetery of Geber in the Persian culture. Two catacombs are located on a high hill, about Safaieh district, in the south end part of Yazd city. The old one is known as Hanjaki Hatria (Indian extraction Zoroastrian), and newer one as Golestan. There is a stony hole between these two where Zoroastrians bury their dead. The diameter of Golestan catacomb is 25m and height of the wall is 6m, from the hill level. The diameter of Hanjaki catacomb is 15m.

These constructions are very important to the Zoroastrians, and normally include a building and beautiful gardens. They house the Holy Fire, which is cherished by Zoroastrians, and have been alight for over 1500 years. The Fire is kept in a case higher than the ground, far from sunshine. There are rooms for rituals around the monuments.

                                                            

                                                       1500 years old Fire Yazd

                                                                Zoroastrian’s Fire Temple

City of Yazd

Situated in a vast dry valley, 677km south of Tehran, Yazd has a dry and semi-dry climate with hot summers and cold winters. In the past, without modern facilities, it was only the clever architecture of the building that enabled the people to tolerate the hot summer. The ventilation structures (wind-catchers) were the most important means by which the interior became cool. These structures still can be seen in the older part of the city. For this reason, Yazd was (and still is) called the city of wind-catchers.

According to some historians Yazd was founded by Yazdegerd I (339-420 AD). The oldest neighbourhood of Yazd is called Fahadan. Being amidst the immense deserts, the Mongols did not capture this city, as a result of which many poets, artists and scholars immigrated to it. During this period numerous schools, mosques and mausoleums were built in Yazd.

At the present time, both traditional handicrafts and modem industries are active in this province. The UNESCO has recognized Yazd as a city having the second oldest architecture all over the world.

Yazd’s Native Culture

Yazd province is one of the oldest and most historic pieces of lands, located among the old and large states of Fars (Pars), Isfahan, Kerman and Khorasan. This land had been an important passage during numerous periods of history. The province had been spared from politically instigated conflicts and wars during Iran’s history. Moreover, arduous roads, shortage of water sources and etc, have been the main hindrances of conquering the area by the some of the big and small governments on borders of the area during the history.

Historical sources certify that rural-sitting has a long background in this area. Manifestations of material and spiritual culture among the native people, and also signs of Mehr (the Sun), Anahita (the goddess of water and fertility), Isatis and the Achaemenid, Alexander prison, huge ancient fortresses and fortifications, numerous shelters, Zoroastrian fire-temples, monuments and memorials of Islamic era such as mosques, Imamzadeh mausoleums, sepulchres and etc, have all been the indicator of culture and civilization of the people in both pre-Islamic and Islamic periods.

Some of the ancient Iranian myths originate from this province. This fact is reflected in the customs add traditions of the people. Most of festivals belong to Zoroastrians, the most interesting of which are seasonal and monthly festivals, such as Nou Rooz and Seheh.

 Muslims also have their own ceremonies, e.g. wedding ceremonies and ta’ziye. Now-Rooz, the Iranian New Year, being the most important festive occasion, is celebrated by Zoroastrians as well as Muslims.

Yazd is the center of present day Zoroastrian religion. There are about 150.000 Zoroastrians in the world, of which 65.000 live in Iran and 20.000 in Yazd. The Atashkadeh is the most important fire temple. Zoroastrians from all over the world come here to see the sacred fire that has been burning without interruption for 1500 years.

Zoroastrian’s 1500 years old Fire Temple

                              

Yazd Zoroastrians places and Ceremonies

Ceremony

Venue

Date

Ashou Zoroaster’s Birthday

Zoroastrians’ Clubs

March – April

Pir-e Harisht Pilgrimage

Mount Harisht of Ardakan

March – April

Gahanbar Celebration

Fire Temples & Homes

April – May

Pilgrimage of Seti Pir

Maryamabad of Yazd

May – June

Pilgrimage of Pir-e Sabz

Chak Chak Area of Yazd

May – June

Porseh Hamegani

Zoroastrians’ Temples

May – June

Pilgrimage of Pir-e Narestaneh

31st Km. on Road of Yazd-Maryamabad

June – July

Gahanbar Celebration

Fire Temples & Houses

June – July

Pilgrimage of Pir-e Pars Banou

Aghda

June – July

Pilgrimage of Pir-e Naraki

Mehriz

July – August

Mehregan Celebration

Zoroastrians’ Clubs

September – October

Ashou Zoroaster’s Funeral

Dinary School of Yazd

December – January

Gahanbar Celebration

Fire Temples & Homes

December – January

Sadeh Celebration

Zoroastrians’ Clubs

January – February

 Gahanbar Celebration

Fire Temples & Homes

Fe

PS: MANY OF YOU MAY HAVE VISITED YAZD AND SEEN IN PERSON THE PROOF OF EXISTENCE OF OUR ANCIENT ZOROASTRIAN CULTURE AND PRAY ONE DAY THE PRESENT IRAN RETURNS TO THEIR ORIGINAL ROOTS AND ONCE MORE ZOROASTRIANISM PROSPERS TO BRING PEACE TO THE WHOLE WORLD.

More information about the YAZD, the City of Wind Catchers, at

http://ibchamber.org/old-site/Magazine%208/yazd.htm

Courtesy : Rusi Sorabji

Parsiana – The Movie

The Parsis are probably as old as the Mughals in India. But the poor importance they received doesnt really spell popularity! This documentary is not only a tribute to the Zoroastrians but an attempt at making the deserving culture more known, more celebrated in India. Lets know Parsis not just for their great food but also their eccentricities. Lets recognize not just their jolly, misrepresentation of bad Hindi but also their peculiar individuality!

This is my humble attempt to make the Zoroastrian world known for what it really is. Because with the ways attitude of the Parsis is India, they deserve to be more than just caricatures in Indian cinema.

Hope you enjoy it!

Vinit Mehta

To buy this Film:  Call Vinit – 9892522299 Email: vinitmehta@live.com www.vinitmehta.blogspot.com

Vegetarian Parsi Kebabs

Kebabs are a popular Indian savoury dish. They are known as great cocktail snacks too. The Parsi’s were originally from Persia, which is now Iran. Therefore the Parsi food is a mix of vegetarian Gujarati cuisine and non-vegetarian Iranian cuisine. Parsi dishes are famous for their unique flavour and vegetarian Parsi kebabs – “unbelievably addictive” are one of them. These small cutlets are served as both an appetizers and snacks.

Though these absolutely delicious Parsi Kebabs are unlike the other Kebabs, where you simply boil, mash, mix all ingredients together and make small balls / patties and deep fry them, these need little more time and attention but at the end, you will certainly not regret the effort.

Click Here for the recipe

In the name of the Just and Benevolent

The Role  Parsis of India Played for the Survival and Endurance of the

Zartoshtis of Iran

Research and Compilation by Farid Shulizadeh

 

More than a thousand years have passed since the first group of Zartoshti refugees stepped on the shores of Sanjan.  In the course of history Parsis of India put their hearts and souls to preserve and flourish the essence of the Mazdi Yasni faith.  Historic researches give evidence that at least upto the 12th century ad the Parsis’ religious leaders had not abandoned the religious doctrines and the contents of the religious scripts.   The writings of Dastur Neryusang Dehaval tells about the knowledge of the mobeds of those times with respects to the Avesta scripts, Pahlavi and Sanskrit languages and interpretation of Zand.  But, the ups and downs of the following centuries, like the ruinous invasions of Mahmud Qaznavi on India and the tyrannies of his commander, Alef Khan, done to the Parsis, the pressure put by the Moslems by collecting high ‘jaziya’ (tax) in order to encourage them to convert to Islam, on the other hand, the pressure brought onto the Parsis by the Portuguese missionaries, and last but not least, constant pressure brought by the prejudiced Hindus, caused the Parsis to forget their religious knowledge, to the extent that they even forgot the Pahlavi script.

Click In the name of the Just and Benevolent to continue reading.

 

Courtesy : K F Keravala

Pahlavi Nirang for the Home Front Door

by : Ervad Soli P. Dastur

Traditionally, in all Parsi homes especially in Gujarat villages, on the fifth day Asfandardmad and the twelfth month Asfandardmad, the local Mobed would pray a special Nirang (Prayer) and then write a special Nirang in Pahlavi script, and then finish the prayer and give the paper with the hand written Nirang to each family to stick it at their front door of their home. I have seen this done year after year in my little village Tarapore and my father, Mobed Pirojshah Kawasji Dastoor, the Tarapore Panthaky, will write the Nirang for any family who wanted it for their front door.

I always wanted to know how to read that Pahlavi writing of the Nirang and what is the meaning of the Nirang prayer……

Click  Pahlavi Nirang For The Home Front Door    to continue reading

Courtesy : K F Keravala

A Zoroastrian in Zanzibar – Farah Bala

During my conversations with the locals when I heard, first of a likelihood, and then a definitive assurance, that there was indeed a Parsi family still living in Zanzibar, there was no way I was leaving the Island without meeting them. Finding out where they lived wasn’t as difficult as I would have thought. Just then, Amanda told me she had read an article not too long ago of the existence of an Agiary (Parsi Temple) in Zanzibar, relatively close to Stone Town. I was now on a mission! However, not too many people knew about this temple. Although there was a thriving Zoroastrian community in Zanzibar for hundreds of years, a majority of them had left during the revolution. Those who stayed on had slowly passed away. We tried to find the woman who had written the article on the internet, but to no avail.

Click Here for the full story

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