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Nowruz: Pre-Zoroastrian, Proto-Iranian Festival


BY WAKEEL KHAN | “Nowruz” is actually a Bronze Age, pre-Zoroastrian, proto-Iranian festival. In the beginning of the Iron Age, owing to a huge socio-economic change with the onset of Iron technology, Zoroastrianism emerged during 9th-7th centuries B.C. in East Iranian pastoral tribes, living along the rivers of Hilmand and Hari Rud (Tedzhen). Zoroastrianism was only a philosophical advancement on the archaic belief system of proto-Iranians. The pre-Zoroastrian supreme god of proto-Iranians was the sun god, Mithra (modern Pashto “Maer”, modern Persian “Mehr”). Mithra, or the sun god, had various strong symbolic forms of fire. However, most of the religious character of the Zoroastrian god Ahura Mazda remained the same as Mithra. All pre-Zoroastrian festivals of the proto-Iranian tribes were associated with sun light. When the snow is over and Nature revives again, and the length of the day and night becomes equal, it was celebrated by proto-Iranians, before & after the Zoroastrian reforms.



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