Parsis; Parsees

(ancient Persian: Parsi, Per- sian)

Members of communities in India and Persia who are adherents of the Zoroastrian religion. They were originally from Persia whence they were dispersed in 641 when the Moslems attempted to convert them. They fled to Ormuz, Diu, and finally to Sanjan where they established their first fire temple in 721. The Moslems again dispersed them, 1305. They established themselves throughout India where they rose to prominence in the 17th century. The sect is divided into two parties: the Shehanchais, who adhere to the Indian method of computing the calendar; and the Kadmis, who follow the Persian system. The sacred books of their religion are known as the Avesta. Among their practises are: worship in fire temples; praying on the sea shore to the rising and setting sun; celebration of marriages in public assembly; exclusiveness as regards marriage; the rule of never smoking.

New Catholic Dictionary

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