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Historical picture of a Parsenian wedding
Wedding celebration by Parsees
Parsi Navjote ceremony
Jamsetji Nasarwanji Tata (1839–1904), founder of the major Indian corporation Tata Group

The Parsees (from Persian پارسى, DMG Pārsī , ' Persians ') are an ethnic-religious group originally from Persia who follow the teachings of Zoroastrianism and live as a strictly closed community . Most of the parsees are in India and Pakistan . The Persian followers of the god Ahura Mazda commonly refer to themselves as Zoroastrians ( Persian زردشتى, DMG Zardoštī or alsoزرتشتى, DMG Zartoštī ).


According to a legend , the Parsees originally came from Khorasan in the Iranian highlands , from where they fled to India in the 8th century after the fall of the Sassanid Empire and the subsequent Islamization of Greater Persia. According to tradition, the Indian east coast cities were sand Chan and Naosari founded by the parsing that this by cities Sanjan at Merv in Turkmenistan and Sari in the province of Māzandarān named their Iranian origin country.

The number of parsing is difficult to estimate, often 90,000 people are given. According to a 2003 article, the number of Parsis (Zoroastrians) worldwide is 200,000. After the withdrawal of the British in 1947, many Parsees emigrated from India. According to the census , around 57,000 Parsees lived in India in 2011, 45,000 of them in the state of Maharashtra , where Mumbai is the most important center of the Parsees, and almost 10,000 in Gujarat . This tolerance, quite cosmopolitan and mostly educated and wealthy community is valued for its charitable work . The number has been falling for years due to the low number of children and the fact that one can only be born as a Parse - the Parsees do not allow converts and until recently did not take in children from mixed marriages. Singleness and childlessness are socially accepted among the Parsees and around 30% remain unmarried for life. The number of children per woman in the Parsees is 0.8 (the Indian average is 2.3). The Indian government therefore started an initiative in 2015 to encourage the Parsees to have more offspring. Among other things, state funding for in vitro fertilization for unwanted childless couples is planned. This is in contrast to the general population policy which aims to curb population growth in densely populated India. In support of this, the Indian Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptulla said that the Parsees had made extraordinary contributions in India to education and industrialization. Many people, like the industrialists Tata and Godrej , as well as important judges and politicians belong to them. This population policy appeared to be showing its first signs of success two years after it began.

An estimated 18,000 to 25,000 Parsees live in North America. The worldwide diaspora is comparatively small. In the west, the Parsees are also known for their burial structures, the dachmas . In a newspaper article in 1907/1908 Friedrich Schrader described the Parsian cult sites in the Baku area in Azerbaijan .

Significant parsing


  • The Zend Avesta . Ulrich Hannemann (Ed.), Weißensee-Verlag, Berlin 2011, ISBN 3-89998-199-5 .
  • Pestanji P. Balsara: Highlights of Parsi history . Self-published, Bombay 1969.
  • Ervad S. Bharucha: A brief sketch of the Zoroastrian religion and customs . Tarapolevala Books, Bombay 1928.
  • Sohrab J. Bulsara (Ed.): The laws of the ancient Persians as found in the "Matikan E Hazar Datastan" or "The Digest of a Thousand Points of Law" . KR Cama Oriental Institute, Mumbai 1999.
  • Rustom C. Chothia: Zoroastrian religion most frequently asked questions . 2002.
  • Dastur K. Dabu: A handbook on information on Zoroastrianism . Edition Chamarbangvala, Bombay 1966.
  • Dastur K. Dabu: Zarathustra an his teachings. A manual for young students . Edition Chamarbangvala, Bombay 1966.
  • Maneckji N. Dhalla: History of Zoroastrianism . 3rd ed. KR Cama Oriental Institute, Bombay 1994.
  • Maneckji N. Dhalla: Zoroastrian Civilization. From the earliest times to the downfall of the last empire 651 AD AMS Press, New York 1977 (reprint of New York 1922 edition)
  • Karl F. Geldner (author), Jivanji C. Tavadia (translator): The Zoroastrian religion in the Avesta ("The Zoroastrian religion"). KR Cama Oriental Institute, Bombay 1999.
  • Marazban J. Giara: Global directory of Zoroastrian fire temples . 2nd Edition. Self-published, Mumbai 2002.
  • Aspandyar S. Gotla: Guide to Zarthostrian historical places in Iran .
  • Mani Kamerkar, Soonu Dhunjisha: From the Iranian plateau to the shores of Gujarat. The story of Parsi settlements and adsorption in India . 2002.
  • Dorsabhai F. Karaka : History of the Parsis including their manners, customs, religion and present position .
  • Ramiyar P. Karanjia: Zoroastrian religion and ancient Iranian art .
  • Eckehard Kulke: The Parsees in India. A minority as agent of social change ; Development and Policy Studies, 3; Weltforum-Verlag, Munich 1974, ISBN 3-8039-0070-0 (plus dissertation, University of Freiburg / B. 1969).
  • Rustam P. Masani: Zoroastrianism. The religion of the good life . Indigo Books, New Delhi 2003, ISBN 81-2920049-X (reprint of London 1938 edition).
  • Jivanji Jamshedji Modi: A few events in the early history of the Parsis and their dates . KR Cama Orientasl Institute, Bombay 2004 (reprinted Bombay 1905 edition).
  • Jivanji J. Modi: The religious ceremonies and customs of the Parsees .
  • Jivanji J. Modi: The religious system of the Parsis . Education Society's Press, Bombay 1903.
  • Piloo Nanavatty: The Gatha of Zarathushtra . 1999.
  • Adil F. Rangoonwalla: Five Niyaeshes . 2004.
  • Adil F. Rangoonwalla: Zoroastrian etiquette . 2003.
  • Roshan Rivetna: The legacy of Zarathushtra .
  • Michael Stausberg (Ed.): Zoroastrian rituals in contest ; Studies in history of religions, 102; Brill, Leiden 2004, ISBN 90-041-3131-0 .
  • Irach J. Taraporewala: The religion of Zarathushtra . Chronicle Press, Bombay 1965.
  • Irach J. Taraporewala: Zoroastrian daily prayers .
  • Günter C. Vieten, photos: George Shelley: Parsen - The Aryans of God . In: Geo-Magazin. Hamburg 1978, 9, pp. 86-108. (Informative (in particular the Zoroastrian cult of the dead) experience report) ISSN  0342-8311

Web links

Commons : Parsi  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Eleonore Chowdhury-Haberl: Zarathustra's heirs. The Parsees of Bombay remain true to their ancient Persian religion ( Memento from February 7, 2006 in the Internet Archive ); in Wiener Zeitung , issue of November 7, 2003.
  2. Census of India 2011: C-01 Appendix: Details of Religious Community Shown Under 'Other Religions And Persuasions' In Main Table C-1- 2011 (India & States / UTs).
  3. Linda Pressly: How India makes Parsi babies. BBC News, July 15, 2015, accessed July 20, 2015 .
  4. Bhavya Dore: Glimmer of hope at last for India's vanishing Parsis. BBC News, July 21, 2017, accessed July 21, 2015 .
  5. ^ F. Schrader: At the fire temple . In: Magdeburgische Zeitung, Mondaysblatt (scientific supplement) No. 19, 1908