Zoroastrian holiday celebrated in Iran





...Saturday's celebration was the first in which the dwindling remnants of Iran's once plentiful Zoroastrian religious minority were joined by thousands of Muslims, reflecting a growing interest in the strict Islamic society for the country's ancient traditions.

The festival, known as Sadeh, celebrates the discovery of fire and its ability to banish the cold and dark, and it is held in the frigid depths of winter.

Sadeh was the national festival of ancient Persia when Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion, before the conquest of Islam in the 7th century. Now it is mostly celebrated just in the homes and temples of Iran's 60,000 remaining Zoroastrians.

Recently, however, there has been an upsurge of interest among Iranian Muslims — more than 90 percent of the population — in their ancient heritage, when vast Persian empires held sway over much of central Asia and fought Greek warriors and Roman legions....




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