SATURDAY, DECEMBER 26: Many Zoroastrians in Iran will mark Zarathust-no-diso today, a commemoration of the death of the prophet Zoroaster. According to Zoroastrian tradition, Zoroaster—who was born in ancient Persia—founded the religion and his teachings are recorded in the holy Avesta. Although the exact birth and death dates of this prophet are unknown, it’s recorded that Zoroastrianism ruled the Persian Empire for hundreds of years and was an influential religion at the time of Jesus. Today, Iranian Zoroastrians mourn the death of their founder with prayers and study. (Wikipedia has more.)
Zoroaster taught some of the world’s first major monotheistic principles, and it’s widely regarded that his teachings of one god, heaven, hell and a final judgment influenced Judaism and Christianity. Although all theories suggest that Zoroaster passed on at an elderly age, disagreements remain on exactly how he died.
SAVING THE FAITH FROM EXTINCTION?
In just a few days, Houston will host hundreds of scholars and professionals from around the world for a North American Zoroastrian gathering. (Details are at MSN News.) Due to strict guidelines concerning Zoroastrian converts, the ancient religion has recently been faced with extinction—and this meeting hopes to change the future of the religion. (The official program site has more information.) On Dec. 29, the three-day North American Zarathushti Congress conference will address the theme: “Preserve the past, protect the present, and perfect the future.”