The First Monotheist Prophet
Zarathushtra was the first prophet to introduce the concepts of: monotheism, equalism, duality of good and evil, mankind’s free choice between the two alternatives, messianic redemption, resurrection, final judgement, heaven (the word
Paradise comes from Old Persian), hell and the notion of an almighty, kind, loving and forgiving God. He believed man’s salvation in life and in the afterlife could only be ensured through Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds. Many of these concepts had a profound influence on Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Persians adopted Zoroastrianism at a time when Greeks and, later, Romans still practiced polytheistic religions, at a time when every race considered itself to be the chosen people of Gods/God, Zarathushtra did not discriminate between race, cast and creed. Zoroaster’s birthday falls on March 26th 1767 B.C.E. (6th of Farvardin in Persian Calendar) This date is more significant and special for the Zoroastrians. The Zoroastrian Year Calendar is based on his 40th Birthday, right now (in 2017), the year is 3755 Zoroastrian Holy Year.
* These dates are based on linguistic evidence, language studies and archeology and not the usual Greek anachronism which often corrupts historical fact. (Many wrongly confuse King Vishtasp who reigned during Zarathustra’s life with the father of Darius the Great, with the same name). That mistake alone is the main reason why many ancient Greek historians wrongly believed that Zarathustra lived around (600 B.C.E) 258 years before the reign of the Macedonian king Alexander, when in fact Zarathustra lived over 14 centuries before him.
Yalda: The day of Equality
The Christmas celebrations actually derive from the Persian celebration of Yalda during the longest night of the year on the eve of the Winter Solstice. On the Yalda night, Persians used to stay awake all night till the dawn and normally the following days were a holiday (December 22-25). It was also the day of Equality because on this day the Monarchs and Nobles were to dress just like ordinary people so as not to be recognized in the crowd and nobody was supposed to give order.
On December 25th Persians celebrated
Mithrakana: The Birth of Mithra (Angelic divinity of covenant and oath) and hanged a wreathe of green cypress on their doors, gave gifts to their loved ones and feasted the night together. Many Christian, Jewish and Muslim customs have root in Mithraism and Zoroastrianism: the first Equal, Universal and Monotheist Religion. The birtyday of Mithra (Mehr) was celebrated in Persia, Rome and other parts of Europe as Mithraism rapidly spread throughout the ancient world, Coincidence with Jewish Hanukkah (Festival of Lights) is not just an accident. An old tradition that would serve as a green movement today was that everyone pledged to plant a cedar tree during the festival of Yalda. (Christmas tree, holy bread and more other things entered, in this way)
The oldest record of the Yalda night celebrated throughout the Indo-European world dates back to 1600 B.C.E.
Merry Mithrakana eventually became
Merry Christmas with the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire. The priests, since could not stop the practice of celebrating Mithra’s birthday on December the 25th. declared this day as the birthday of Jesus, which is still so (Because the date of Jesus’ birth is unknown).
New Year’s celebrations
Norouz or new day, is wonderful and ancient Persian national celebration that reflects the rich cultural heritage of the nation. Norouz is the most cherished of all the Persian festivals and has been celebrated for more than 3500 years according to the latest archeological and historical discoveries. The Persian New Year always begins on the first day of spring (March 20th each year, at the exact time the sun enters Aries) Its exact time is calculated according to ancient astronomical methods established by a solar calendar in Persia. Norouz ceremonies are symbolic representations of two ancient concepts: the End and the Rebirth. It is a celebration of spring equinox and represents ancient Persians’ impressive understanding of science and astronomy. A few weeks before the New Year, Persians clean and rearrange their homes. They make new clothes, bake pastries and germinate seeds as sign of renewal and decorate their family Norouz table. The ceremonial cloth is set up in each household. Troubadours, referred to as Haji Firuz, disguise themselves with makeup and wear brightly colored outfits of satin. These Haji Firuz, singing and dancing, parade as a carnival through the streets with tambourines, kettle drums, and trumpets to spread good cheer and the news of the coming new year.
Some of the activities during Norooz are Spring cleaning, painting eggs, family reunions, Persian dancing, exchanging presents, visiting neighbors and friends etc. just to name a few. The Norouz holiday and celebrations ends by having a massive family picnic on the 13th day of Spring.