Religious Duties and Practice

There is no tradition of monasticism in Zoroastrianism; to retreat from the world would be to spurn Ahura Mazda’s creation. People have a duty to get married, have children and to expand the army of Ahura Mazda.

Zoroastrians believe in the importance of charitable giving, notably in educational ventures and medicine, and this has long been a characteristic Zoroastrian duty with charity viewed as inter-communal across all faiths.

The key religious practice for Zoroastrians is to recite the sudre/kusti prayers with which each Zoroastrian is invested at initiation (naujote). The sudre is a white cotton garment worn next to the skin and a lamb’s wool cord tied around the waist (similar to a Brahmin’s cord except in Zoroastrianism this is the symbol for all believers). These are spoken of as the ‘armour of the religion in the war against evil’. When the Zoroastrian goes to temple they stand and pray before the perpetually burning sacred fire (atash), in which they believe God is physically present.

The fire temple will also have a ritual room, urvisgah, where the higher ceremonies are performed by the priests on behalf of the laity, for example in memory of the deceased. Laity may attend these ceremonies but rarely do.

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