The conquered people were free to worship their own deities in the satrapies."

Ahura-Mazda, the God of Gods

THE RELIGIONS OF IRANIANS

The Iranian kings were not bigots. In the satrapies that they conquered, people were free to worship their own deities. But the religions in Persia were distinctly different from those of the old empires it had annexed.

Three religions were practiced among the Medes and Persian.  These were: King's religion based on one God, Ahura-Mazda, the god of gods. The people's religion centered on the god Mithras, the goddess Anahita and the cult of the Magi.

The three religions of Persia became to some extent intermixed. Iranian kings supposedly drew their authority from Ahura-Mazda, creator of heaven and earth.

God had no image but was worshipped in the form of a symbol: a bearded upright male figure centrally placed in an open wing. The religion of Ahura-Mazda was founded by Zoroaster (Zarathustra in Farsi), who may have lived about 660-583 BC. or possibly much earlier. The followers of this religion called Zoroastrians, were among the first peoples to acknowledge only one God.

Xerxes First who succeeded Darius First in 486 BC. assembled an army of  over 180,000 men. Using Phoenician vessels, he built a double line of boats to bridge the Hellespont (Dardanelles).

In 480 BC his warriors advanced over it to defeat the Greeks at Thermopylae. Xerxes pushed on to Athens which he burned , but in the same year the Greeks defeated his fleet at Salamis. Fearful of being trapped without supplies, the main Iranian force returned home. despite its victories, Greece remained weak because it was disunited, often at war within itself.

Zarathustra not only acknowledge only one God, but also beleive in; "Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds."

Despite its few adherents in modern-day, overwhelmingly Muslim Iran, Zoroastrianism continues to have a strong influence on national custom.

Iranians celebrate the New Year in March starting with the Chahar-Shanbe Suri, or the Wednesday Feast, by lighting bonfires, firecrackers and dancing hoping to put failures behind them and start the new year with prosperity.

On the longest night of the year, Iranians buy fruit, nuts and other goodies to mark the feast of Yalda, an ancient tradition when families get together and stay up late, swapping stories and munching on snacks.

Both celebrations have Zoroastrian roots and are frowned upon by Islamists who are in the opinion that ceremonies contradict Islamic traditions.

The belief in a messiah, which Zoroaster taught would come to save the world, also is thought to have been taken by later religions.

For more information please go to:
(1) 1400 Years
(2) Re-Brith

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