Faravahar at Persepolis
Definition: Zoroastrianism
The ancient pre-Islamic religion of Persia (modern Iran), founded by the prophet Zoroaster by the sixth century BCE, with about 200,000 adherents today. Many of its concepts influenced Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.
Fast Facts on Zoroastrianism
Adherents 200,000
Locations India, Iran
Date Founded estimated between 12th and 6th century BCE
Place Founded Ancient Persia
History Based on teachings of Zoroaster in 6th cent. BCE Persia. Official religion of ancient Persia. May have influenced Judaism and Vedic religion.
Founders Zoroaster
Beliefs one God, Ahura Mazda, who has an evil opponent, Aura Mainyu; judgment after death; heaven and hell
Ethics Good deeds, charity, equality, hard work.
Practices prayers; tending the sacred fire; coming of age rituals; burial by exposure in the Tower of Silence
Holidays Gahanbars (seasonal festivals), Noruz (New Year), Mehragan (festival of Mithra)
Texts Zend Avesta
Symbols faravahar (winged sun disk with human figure); adar (sacred fire)

Zoroastrianism is the ancient, pre-Islamic religion of Persia (modern-day Iran). It survives there in isolated areas but primarily exists in India, where the descendants of Zoroastrian Persian immigrants are known as Parsis, or Parsees. In India the religion is called Parsiism.

Founded by the Iranian prophet and reformer Zoroaster in the 6th century BCE, Zoroastrianism contains both monotheistic and dualistic features. Although a fairly small religion today, numbering about 200,000 adherents, it shares many central concepts with the major world religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Sources & Further Reading

  1. "The Battle Between Good and Evil [Zoroastrianism]." The Religions Book.DK, 2013. .
  2. Boyce, Mary. "Zoroastrianism." The Penguin Handbook of the World's Living Religions.Penguin Books, 2010. .
  3. Duchesne-Guillemin, Jacques. "Zoroastrianism." Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. 27 Jan 2017. Accessed 9 Feb 2017.
  4. Joshua J. Mark. "Zoroastrianism." Ancient History Encyclopedia. 12 Dec 2019. Accessed 4 Feb 2021. { “Zoroastrianism is the monotheistic faith established by the Persian prophet Zoroaster... between c. 1500-1000 BCE.”