Zoroastrian Sacraments

Zoroastrian SacramentsBirth
After the birth of a child in a Zoroastrian family, the new mother is normally confined to the house for 40 days. A lamp is lit on the day of birth and is kept in the room for about 40 days to ward off any evil elements. Some families observe the Pachori on the fifth day while some observe Dasori on the tenth day of the child. On the fortieth day, the new mother is given a ceremonial bath with consecrated water being administered by the head priest. This is done to cleanse her so that she can interact with other people.

Para Haoma
The event of giving the first drink to the newborn is called Para Haoma. It is consecrated Haoma juice and it is supposed to make the child healthy. But these days a sweet drink made of molasses or sugar is also administered.

The formal admission of a child into the Zoroastrian fold is called Navjote. It is done between the seventh and the eleventh year of the child. First the child takes a special bath called Nahn and then he is given a purifying drink. Then the child stands in a raised platform and his mother performs the Achoo Michoo ceremony where certain items are rotated over the head of the child seven times. This is done to invoke the blessings of the seven Amesha Spentas on the child. Then certain prescribed texts are read and the Kushti is worn round the waist of the child. Then a long prayer is held when the child declares that he will be a true Zoroastrian and follow the rules and regulations. Both the Parsi boys and girls are given this privilege. Finally the priest recites the Doa Tandorosoti Prayer, which calls for the well being of the child, his parents and the community in particular.

The marriage involves the groom going to the bride's house along with his relatives and friends. The priest heads the assembly and women carry the Varni - the gifts meant for the bride. The bride's house is usually decorated with strings of flowers. When the groom arrives the bride's mother welcomes him by applying Kumkum on his forehead and sprays rice grains over him. During the ceremony the couple shower rice over each other and the priest also throws rice grains over them as a mark of blessing. A coconut is taken round the head of the groom three times, then it is broken and the water is applied at the feet of the groom. The bridegroom is made to sit on the hand of the bride. Both of them face the eastern direction. One person with a burning flame is allowed to stand near the couple as a reverence to their God of fire. A candle is also placed on both the sides and it burns for the whole ceremony.
The priest gets the consent of the couple and then joins their hands and showers rice grains over them. Then the couple is seated facing each other, with a curtain between them. The couple is made to hold each other's right hand and a piece of cloth is passed round the chairs so as to enclose them. The ends of the cloth are tied symbolizing the marriage knot. Then the writings of the Yatha Ahuvairyo are read. Finally the curtain is dropped and the couple shower rice grains on each other. The relatives and friends then clap approving the marriage. Then a grand feast is given.

According to the Zoroastrians, if the soul has left the body then it should be disposed off with minimum harm to those living. The Zoroastrians have strict ideals of sanitation, segregation, purification and cleanliness. The part of the house where the body was kept before the funeral will be washed and cleansed thoroughly. When death of a person is imminent , two head priests are called. A few drops of the Haoma juice are administered to the dying person. Nowadays pomegranate juice is also given.
They do not bury or cremate the dead; instead they leave their dead in the "Towers of Silence" where they would be devoured by vultures. This is to ensure that the five elements created by God, are not polluted.

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