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Khordad Sal – The Birthday of Zoroaster

Zoroastrians get particularly festive during the period of Khordad Sal. Khordad Sal can be likened to the Christian holiday of Christmas as it celebrates the birth of their prophet. Khordad Sal is the birth date for Zoroaster and Zoroastrians around the world celebrate it with vigour. Jashans are recited and large parties are held in order to commemorate the occasion. Large banquets are served up and Parsis come together for one of the most celebrated dates on the Zoroastrian calendar. Houses are cleaned to the point of shining and clothes are bought and worn just for this occasion. The Parsi community comes together in order to celebrate the occasion.

For those with a limited knowledge of Zoroastrianism, Zoroaster is an Iranian prophet who founded the religion. The religion is based upon Zoroaster’s teachings as a philosopher. They are centred on honesty, community, charity and nobility. There is also a large focus on helping people and remaining constructive within the community in order to benefit the whole rather than the individual. One of Zoroaster’s key tenets is that which relates to free will. Many westernised philosophers have picked this up and use it largely in regards to philosophy centred on morality and the human condition. In this regard, Zoroaster can be considered ahead of his time.

Western philosophers that have borrowed a lot from Zoroaster include Friedrich Nietzsche and Plato (Plato was even accused of plagiarising Zoroaster). Whilst western philosophy has been quite kind in regards to Zoroaster and has sung his praises – the art world as been just as kind. Many famous artists have used Zoroaster’s teachings and his likeness in their work. This leads me to the next point. It is not only Zoroastrians who celebrate Khordad Sal, academics and people who are in tune with eastern philosophy celebrate Khordad Sal in their own ways. Although their parties are nowhere near as lavish as those put on by the Parsi community.

Parsi families come together during the festivities that are put on during Khordad Sal – if families are unable to be together then prayers are offered for those who are not in attendance. It is an important celebration for the Parsi community and because family (and community) is central to the themes of Zoroastrianism guests are invited to participate in the festivities. Parsis also take the time during Khordad Sal to be introspective. They look at ways in which they can improve the lives of others and themselves.