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The regional interactive encyclopedic portal «Bashkortostan»
Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Bashkortostan State autonomous institution of science of the Republic of Bashkortostan Bashkir encyclopedia


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ZOROASTRIANISM is a religion spread in ancient times and early middle ages in Cen­ tral Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and number of other countries of the Middle East. The founder was the prophet Zoroaster (Zarathustra). Avesta is the holy book. According to Z., the creators of the world were Akhuramaz­ da, the head of asurs (spirits personifying light and good), and Ankhra­Maynyu, the head of devs (darkness and evil). The main Z. principles are: dualism, where good opposes evil; the belief in the final victory of good. Z. followers believe in immortality of a soul, in afterlife and the end of the world.

The worship of fire, water, earth, air is typical for Z.

Z. ideas were spread in the Southern Urals and the Lower Volga regions as they were similar to the local religious cults. The Z. elements can be found in Bashkir tales “Skull” (“Kyu bash”), “Flower” (“Seske”), etc. Close ideolog­ical and compositional content of the epics Ural-batyrand Akbuzatwith Avesta, the similar names and features of the characters (Yima – Khumay, Azhi Dakhaka – Kakhkakha, Senmurv bird – Samrau, etc.) are evidences of their close typological relations. Also, Bashkirs and Tatars preserved the custom to call people who bury the deceased “khkyekke kileuseler” (liter. “those who came to the bones”); there is a belief that a raven heralds an imminent death (“kozgon kilkhe – ulek syga”); Bahkortostan Maris have the custom to install long poles with the figures of birds near the head of a deceased person, Chuvashes install an anthropomorphous pole, called yupa, symbolizing the ancestor­me­ dium between the Highest creator Tura and peo­ ple, and the lit­candle inside of the pole is the symbol of fire and the Sun; Mordovians hold the ceremony of kindling a candle during the prayers to the ancestors; Udmurts have the New fire rite; Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians hold the rite of cleaning with fire at Ivana Kulapa’s holiday. All of it gives evidence for the connections with Z.; etc.

Publication date: 20.04.2021
Last updated: 20.04.2021