Christianity and Mithraism may sound like two words from two separate worlds, but in this short article, you will find out that we are all talking about the same thing, only using different languages!
If you were born in Iran, you would know that Christmas is not a big deal there. In Iran, Nowruz is the biggest celebration of all, as it has been our national new year celebration for thousands of years, regardless of your religion or ethnic background. But Christmas is still celebrated by Christians and some Iranians who are always looking for an excuse to party.
At the very begining
Let’s go back a bit further; before all these religions, there was Mithraism, a sect of Zoroastrianism characterized by the worship of Mithra as the defender of the truth, which was practiced in the whole Roman Empire. There are remains of Mithraist temples all around Europe.
Mitra is the Iranian deity of convenant, light, oath, justice and the sun. or “Mehr” in Persian/Farsi. Mitra’s birthday was celebrated on the 25th of December.
Mitra is a deity and a name for girls in Iran but Roman’s Mithra is not a girl.
In carvings of Mithra remaining from ancient times, he wears a red horn hat and a cloak like Santa. There are so many other similarities between Christianity and Mithraism. You can learn more from here if you are interested.
At some point in history, Nowruz was also linked directly to Zoroastrianism which was practiced widely in Iran /Persia.
Zoroastrianism is the first monotheistic religion. Zoroastrians do not believe in forcing religion and beliefs on others. They believe that everyone must gather knowledge and use wisdom to find their way.
On the other hand, a solar calendar is the main calendar in use in Iran and Nowruz is the start of the solar year.
Therefore, Nowruz, alongside all other annual celebrations such as Yalda, which originated from Zoroastrian beliefs, is celebrated in Iran nationally.
Did you know
There is also a very new religion known as the Baha’i faith which started in the 19th century in Iran by an Iranian man born in Tehran. In short, the Baha’i faith is another branch of Islam influenced by Iranian culture and its founding ideology. He has made Iranian Nowruz a religious celebration of the Baha’i faith. Followers of the Baha’i faith fast a couple of days before the Nowruz celebration. This Nineteen-Day Fast is a nineteen-day period of the year during which members of the Baha’i Faith adhere to a sunrise-to-sunset fast similar to “Eid al-Fitr” in Islam. The religious holiday is celebrated by Muslims worldwide because it marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan.
It is surprising that with all these links and connections between Iran and the rest of the world, there is still a great effort to ignore and belittle this ancient culture as it has been done to the Native Americans, Aboriginals, Mexicans, and so many other ancient civilizations!
Happy New Year 🙂
Thanks to those of you who supported me in my wholehearted journey during 2022.
Do not ever underestimate the power of a word of motivation and compassion or a gesture of kindness and support.
Hope you all had a wonderful festive season surrounded by love, peace, and good health.