Now rúz – Persian New Year. March 20th. 2023.

Naw Rúz is rooted in Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian religion that believed in one God, creator of the universe and that predates Christianity and Islam.

Ever since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with the stories of the “1001 Nights”, Scheherazade, Sinbad, Gilgamesh, Hammurabi, Nebuchadnezzar, and also with stories from the “Old Testament” Abraham, Jericho, Moses, Esther, and Salomon. All these stories takes us back to Mesopotamia, home to one of the world’s oldest continuous major civilizations, and religions with historical and urban settlements dating back to 7000 BC. In 1935 its name changed from Persia to Iran and Iraq.

Long before Zoroastrianism was spread in the 6th century b.c.e. The inhabitants of Mesopotamia believed in the cosmic order ruled by the “Tablet of Destinies” which occasionally was stolen by the god of evil to create chaos, but which was always returned to Enlil, the god of good.

They also believed that the world was destroyed with a flood, but Ea leaked the plan for the flood and told Utnapishtim to build a boat to keep living beings alive.

Abraham, who lived in the city of UR in Mesopotamia, most likely heard the stories of how of the flood. He must have known the many stories of Gilgamesh. These and many other stories were the foundations of the Hebrew monotheistic religion which influenced Christianity and Islam, and Hinduism.

Zoroaster a.k.a. Zarathustra who lived in the 6th century, believed that there were two forces that controlled the world, Ahura Mazda, the Lord of Wisdom, who was opposed by an evil spirit Aura Mainyu. the god of evil.  Zarathustra encouraged his followers to join the forces of goodness and to observe ethical standards of conduct guided by following the Avesta or Book of the Law . Zoroaster believed in free will, and  an afterlife judgement.

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