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Faithandfood Fact Files - Zoroastrianism

“The person who abstains from food, or takes insufficient food, has neither enough strength to practice active virtues, nor can he till the earth, nor beget children, nor is he able to withstand hardship and pain.”
Vendidad Chapter 3 Verse 33

Forbidden ingredients
Main food beliefs
Vegetarianism
Eating in restaurants
Feasting and fasting
Links
Contact
About the writer

The Faithandfood Fact File bookmarks are the same for each religion. Compare this religion with the dietary beliefs of another faith by clicking on the name of the religion on the toolbar on the left.

Which ingredients are forbidden?
There are no forbidden food products in Zoroastrianism.

What are the main laws or beliefs relating to food?
Prophet Zarathushtra also known as Zoroaster lived in a pastoral society, where cooked meat was eaten. From the earliest times, the Iranians ate the flesh of domesticated animals and birds. Meat, poultry and fish was either roasted or cooked or fried before eating and eaten with various kinds of vegetables fruits, and dry fruits and consumed with milk, yogurt drink and alcohol. Animal food was used in the sacred feasts and festivals or in funeral repasts.

To be constantly alert against evil, excess – gluttony, and deficiency – fasting is forbidden. Zoroastrianism has no food products that are forbidden and consuming alcohol, especially wine, is considered a religious duty!

Is there a link with vegetarianism?
No, eating meat is perfectly ok. Eating anything in excess – gluttony – is forbidden because of the importance of being constantly alert against evil.

In general, will people of this faith eat in a food outlet that serves food or drink that does not conform to their beliefs?
No food products are forbidden, but Zoroastrians are extremely finicky about cleanliness, especially the kitchen and toilets. To a Zoroastrian, cleanliness is not next to Godliness, it is Godliness!

When and why do people of this faith feast and fast?
Fasting is forbidden as deficiency diminishes our ability to be constantly alert against evil and our strength to practice active virtues.

In Zoroastrianism feasting is a vital part of the religion, especially celebrating birthdays with the family, initiations and weddings. It is important for the person whose birthday it is to wear new clothes, eat nice food, including home made sweets specially made for the auspicious occasion and drinking nice wine.

Every month in the Zoroastrian religious calendar is dedicated to a divinity and therefore a festival and therefore feasting. The most important festival in the Zoroastrian year is the Iranian New Year known as Navroze or NoRuz, which is celebrated on the day of the Spring Equinox. On the day of Navroze / NoRuz, Zoroastrians wear new clothes, visit families and friends, visit the fire temple, then go home or to the community centre for the New Year feast, which consist of a thank giving prayer ceremony known as the Jashan, followed by eating, drinking, dancing and merriment.

Following Navroze, it is important for Zoroastrians to celebrate the six seasonal festivals, the autumnal equinox, summer and winter solstices.

Links to websites with further information:
http://www.ztfe.com
http://www.fezana.org

For Zoroastrian Cookery Books, visit www.ztfe.com, click on Library, followed by Books on Sale.

If you have any question about the dietary practises or beliefs in this faith, you may contact:
Malcolm M. Deboo
Information Officer & Librarian
Zoroastrian Centre For Europe
440 Alexandra Avenue
Harrow
Middlesex
HA2 9TL
Telephone: 020 7328 6018 / 020 8866 0765
Fax: 020 7625 1685
E-mail: library@ztfe.com

Written by Malcolm Minoo Deboo
Malcolm Minoo DebooMalcolm Minoo Deboo has been the Librarian and Information Officer at the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe. Malcolm is the first point of reference at the ZTFE in disseminating information on the Zoroastrian religion, heritage and culture to anybody who is interested, including educational and interfaith establishments, local and national government agencies. He has represented Zoroastrians in many interfaith events, most recently the Parliament of the World Religions in Barcelona. At the ZTFE, Malcolm manages the Zoroastrian Book Stall, which stocks over 350 titles on Zoroastrian religion, history and culture including cookery books.

Note: Some people who are Zoroastrians may not observe the dietary laws stated above. Prohibitions and restrictions even within a particular faith may change between denominations or branches Please do not take this as an authoritative list. This page is meant as a guide only and are the beliefs of the writer.

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