The role of religious beliefs in Iran and India

The role of religious beliefs in Iran and India

in the name of God


The role of Iranian and Indian religious beliefs in preserving a common spiritual heritage called Nowruz

  • Dr. Mohammad Sadegh Mahfouzi


Nowruz is one of the oldest ancient festivals and rituals in Iran, the only origin of which has not been properly determined. In the oldest available references about Jamshid, the mythical king of Iran and Nowruz, in Avesta, Pahlavi, Persian texts as well as ancient Indian religious books, we can understand the background of Nowruz and its holding among the inhabitants of India and Iran. Nowruz, which literally means new day, is celebrated every year on March 21 with the beginning of the new year and the beginning of spring, in almost identical ceremonies throughout the vast geographical regions of Iran, India, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan. , Turkey and Uzbekistan. This date, which is determined based on astronomical calculations, has been common since ancient times and in all the lands annexed to Iran, as well as among all the tribes that somehow shared a common destiny with this land in their historical periods. The spiritual heritage of Nowruz, which was registered in the world in 2009, is considered an existential celebration according to the tastes and attitudes of the lands that have passed through it. Throughout history, it has played a significant role in protecting this spiritual heritage and passing it on to the next generation. The present study tries to introduce Nowruz as a spiritual and common heritage between Iran and India, and to address the position of religious beliefs of these two lands in preserving and extending this spiritual heritage.

Keywords: Religious Beliefs – Spiritual Heritage – Nowruz – History – Iran – India.

  • Anthropological Encyclopedia Center, Museum of Manuscripts and Cultural Works of Art Dr. Mohammad Sadegh Mahfouzi Email: 02122363007


Nowruz is a word composed of two parts, which together mean the new day and the first day of the first month of the year. The word new in cultures means new, new, anti-old, young, etc. (Hamidi; 2009: P. 24), and is known for its descriptions of Nowruz, Farvardin, Bahar, Jamshidi Nowruz, Soltani Nowruz and Jalali Nowruz, and has been held significantly over the centuries with attractive and poetic customs and traditions. (M. Boyc , 1992, pp.53-M.Schwartz, p.641) In fact, this celebration, which means overcoming the cold and renewing the growth and power of nature, is the most important and long-standing national celebration of the Iranian people and the people of the lands They have a common cultural history. (Lului; 1379: p. 18). The longevity of Nowruz in the lands that are familiar with its ceremonies, has caused the emergence of mythical themes in various eras. (Ismailpour Motlagh; 1379: p. 14).

In ancient Iran, among the dozens of celebrations of the year and season that were held nationally and religiously, Nowruz was the most famous and the ceremony was held in more detail (Mustafa; 1376: p. 35). Nowruz celebration is in fact a celebration of nature, creation and celebration of the victory of light over darkness and the expansion of the foundations and elements of civilization. Also, the celebration of the golden age of Iran is a myth, which in a sense is a symbol of cultural identity and political centrality of this land, not only on the plateau but also on the surrounding civilizations and territories (Salehi Amiri, Samimi; 2007: p. 4), Some experts believe that Nowruz has similarities with the celebrations of the Egyptian pharaohs (p3 Jaklyn Michael.2005). In fact, Nowruz is a spiritual and lasting heritage that includes a large area around Iran, as the origin of Iranian civilization (Amir Ahmadian, 1390: p. 8). Nowruz to friendship, unity, peace and intimacy between generations And families value and ultimately, leads to cultural diversity and friendship between different ethnic groups and communities (Mahdavi Nia, 1389: p. 29).

The nature of Nowruz, which some have called the art of Iran (Eftekhari; 1381: p. 17), has always been associated with religious beliefs and today as a historical document, as a spiritual and common heritage among different nations, especially Iran and India, which is decisive. It is not unrelated to the historical encounters of their relatives, it plays a role.

Statement of the problem

From time immemorial to the present day, all cultures and lands celebrate days of the year. Peugeot hashes,

Anthropology has not introduced a society or a group whose people do not spend days in happiness and celebration (Elhami, 1379: p. 23). National and holy days have always been associated with rituals or religious rites. Nowruz, as a common heritage, has a fabric between Iran and India, a traditional and noble tradition that has an inseparable link with the religious beliefs of their people and other nations that have passed it.

Religious beliefs are formal, light, and repetitive. The ancients performed rituals in special places and days. Ritual beliefs include special and systematic prayers, the words of prayer have a special order and context that were formed long before its implementation (Mullah Salehi, 1390: p. 119). Nowruz is one of these cases that Behind it, doctrinal ideas can be searched. This ceremony is repeated every year and from generation to generation in Iran and India and embodies the messages, values ​​and practical feelings of permanence.

The thousands of years of history of Iran and India, as well as their archaeological data, testify to the existence of people with diverse religious ideas who lived in two lands. The artistic-historical works left by those people express different ideas that have been religious in many cases. The existence of sacred objects and places in the lands of Iran and India shows the attention to human issues and the approach to nature. (Azhand, 1390: p. 545). Also in these works, there are real and ideal images, which show the commitment of the creator to the rituals of his time. Confrontation or historical relations in the lands of Iran and India have caused these two lands to influence each other, and one of the things that show this influence is the Nowruz ceremony. This ceremony is inspired by the different ideas of different nations that have set foot on these lands. And they have passed it on to the next generations. Existence of historical background and different ethnic groups in these lands, each of which had various religious ideas. It shows that all these religious views are not contrary to the ritual of Nowruz, because Nowruz has remained stable to this day and is welcomed with respect in the mentioned geographical lands.

Purpose of the research

Nowruz is one of the relics and building blocks of the culture of the people of different lands, especially Iran and India, which over time is associated with their religious beliefs and reflects the ritual views of the past and present. The present study tries to introduce the position and relationship of religious beliefs in preserving this common spiritual heritage while introducing how this long-standing tradition in the mentioned lands (Iran and India). The impact and manner of historical confrontations of religious rituals regarding the establishment of Nowruz is a necessary thing, which the present Peugeot hash deals with in the form of documents (library), descriptive and analytical.

Research questions

1- Has the spiritual heritage of Nowruz over time been related to the religious beliefs of the people of Iran and India?

 2- Have the religious beliefs of Iran and India been effective in preserving and extending the spiritual heritage of Nowruz?

 3. To what extent do historical relations influence the similar religious beliefs of the two lands?

Research background

Addressing the background and origin of Nowruz is a difficult discussion. Because this tradition is not something that has suddenly appeared among the tribes. It is possible that its life is equal to the life of different nations. In the past, Nowruz has been the biggest celebration and ritual of Zoroastrians. The reliefs of the representatives of the gift givers in Persepolis are a document for celebrating Nowruz in this period. The documents of the Sassanid period also confirm the celebration of Nowruz in this period in the best way. Written works also indicate the existence of traditional customs of Nowruz in the first few centuries of Islam and the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs. The books of Nowruz Nameh, attributed to Khayyam and other works and external understanding also show the continuity of Nowruz in the Islamic period. (Mahdavi Nia, 1389: p. 281). The works of famous historians of the reign of Jalaluddin Akbar, such as Sheikh Abolfazl, the owner of the Akbar letter and the Akbar religion and Mullah Abdul Qadir, the owner of the selected court of history, show the importance of Nowruz celebration in the court of Babri sultans (Jafari Nejad, 1386: p. 56).

Research methods and tools

Considering the existential philosophy of Nowruz spiritual heritage, descriptive, historical and analytical methods have been used in the research.

Research community

Professors, scholars, students, Peugeot scholars and enthusiasts who work in the fields of religion, culture, civilization and in fact the religious rites and beliefs of Iran and India.

Scope and limitations of research

The geographical scope of the research includes the lands of Iran and India, and the theological scope includes the ritual of Nowruz and the impact of religious beliefs on its preservation and durability in the two lands. It should be noted that the present study never seeks to introduce the original origin Nowruz is not because the discussion in this regard requires extensive and simultaneous research of different sciences in the fields of religions, history, religion, archeology, anthropology and.. In a way, it is worth mentioning that addressing the religious beliefs of the tribes that have preserved Nowruz throughout history with such a vast geographical area (Iran and India), adds to the weight of the mentioned Peugeot hash.

Nowruz ritual in Iran and India

The word Basnat and Bahar The two words Hindi and Iranian are derived from the same root, which is called the Indo-Persian Aryan language. Basant means spring, which begins in mid-March and lasts until May, which corresponds to June. Since the words Basant and Bahara are both root and synonymous, it can be said that these words are common between the two nations (Tatar, 2006: p. 21). In India, the Basnet festival has now become a spring festival and is held all over the country, with almost everyone participating and celebrating with animal shows, traditional games and wrestling, horse racing and so on. Take (Tatar, 2006: p. 22). Some scholars believe that this religion, which has been very important in India for centuries, has been popularized by Iranians in those lands (Shahriar Naqavi, 1350: p. 2). Iranians celebrate Syrian last Wednesday every year and light a fire, and after a few days on the occasion of the New Year, they celebrate another holiday called Nowruz. Hindus, as mentioned, also hold a celebration in early March in which they light a fire at the end of the alley or in the square and at the crossroads (Jafari, 2005: p. 3).

This similarity indicates a long-standing cultural bond that is reflected in these spiritual heritages. Nowruz songs are also among the customs that have been popular in two lands and have their roots in the history of their literature (Ahmad, 2002: p. 281). Perhaps man has tried to maintain his belonging to nature and his inseparable connection with it. In Iran, the Nowruz ritual is established with pre-Nowruz rituals, Nowruz night and day, and post-Nowruz rituals.


Cleaning the house and living space, preparing and baking bread and sweets, buying new shoes and clothes for children and adults, as well as Nowruz shows that show the pursuit of cold and the welcome of spring, are among the pre-Nowruz customs that Syrian Wednesday appears. Nowruz night is one of the ritual nights that is associated with various customs and beliefs. In some cases, green leaves are hung on houses, lights are not turned on, seven trays are spread and special foods of this night are cooked. To. (Mahdavi Nia, 1389: pp. 282. 283).

(Henry 1377: pp. 30-33). In the past, some Iranians put seven trays in the tray Wilson 1896 p 24.26.). Haftsin is: 1- Green (wheat, barley and sometimes lentils) 2- Sepand 3- Apple 4- Coin 5- Garlic cloves 6- Vinegar 7- Semno (Shakurzadeh. 1354: pp. 62-64). This belief, which is a religious belief, indicates the important role of ritual views in the establishment of Nowruz, which has somehow played a role in its preservation and extension.

Going to see and revisit, sightseeing and group games, as well as putting greenery in the water after the thirteen days of Farvardin (the thirteenth Badr ceremony), along with the beginning of agricultural and livestock activities that begin in the days after Nowruz. Becomes. It is one of the traditions after Nowruz in Iran (Mahdavi Nia, 1389: p. 284).

The place of myths, religious beliefs and religions, for the preservation and extension of Nowruz

The people of Iran and India, as they have always been together in the emergence of the green season, have and still have commonalities in religion, faith, civilization and other ways of life. One of these commonalities, as mentioned before, and derived from ritualistic views, is the spiritual heritage of Nowruz. The Indians have established Nowruz and painted it with a native color (Jafari Nejad, 2007: p. 54). The ancient tradition of Nowruz has led to the emergence of myths and ritual views in lands that are somehow familiar with this spiritual heritage. In the Persian language, celebration is derived from the root yaz meaning praise, worship and worship of God, which is set up for a victory or a social event or a heavenly miracle (Salehi Amiri, Samimi, 2007: p. 4). Therefore, it can be found that religious beliefs have always been in line with the issue of Nowruz, and have played a role in its preservation and extension. One of the mythological views behind this ancient religion is the myth attributed to Jamshid, who in Persian mythology is called the son of Tahmourth and the fourth pioneer king, who made metals, weapons and sugarcane and built the city of the pool, and celebrated Nowruz was established (Prohan, 1978: p. 7).

According to the ancient beliefs of Iranians, Nowruz is somehow related to the creation of the world (Ibid: p. 8). Another thing that is related to Nowruz is that it is said: The devil ruled the earth with the plague of drought and famine, Jamshid went to the south to fight the devil and eliminate the famine, and defeated the devil, the plague of famine. He threw it and when he returned to the ground, the light shone from his face. On this day, the trees and any dry wood turned green, people called this day Nowruz. And everyone planted barley for congratulations and this custom of planting greenery during Nowruz has been remembered since then. (Mushkur, 1350: p. 179). All of this is in fact a sign of respect for existence and nature, which has somehow become ingrained in the beliefs of the people over the centuries.

Nowruz is usually seen in the mythology of the people of the plateaus of ancient Iran and Sumer and Ilam. Some scholars refer to the Babylonian Nowruz as Akitu (Hosseini (Asef), 2005: p. 99). During the Akito ritual, which was held in honor of God Marduk, the creation of the 12 months of the year was praised and interpreted. If we consider Mesopotamia as one of the origins that are familiar with Nowruz, we find that religious beliefs have played a role alongside it and in maintaining and extending this ancient tradition has never adhered to geographical boundaries. .

Zoroastrians also believe that at the dawn of Nowruz night, the souls of the ancients return to their place. That is why they light fires and pray on the roofs of houses. This custom is still prevalent among them. (Mahdavi Nia, 1389: p. 283). This case can also be another indication that religious beliefs are related to spiritual heritage, such as Nowruz.


Nowruz has always remained strong in the Islamic period in order to contain messages about human and existential values, and with the establishment of Islamic governments in the lands of Iran and India, Nowruz is among all the festivals and celebrations. It gained a lot of importance, and was held with special care and attention (Baha, 2006: p. 22).

Indian Shiites celebrate Nowruz and consider it a great holiday. They have performed their Nowruz duties and have written about the greatness of Nowruz and its social history in different languages ​​and have rendered many services to this ancient day. (Jafari Nejad, 2007: p. 55). Shiites in India, who consider the province of Imam Ali to coincide with Nowruz, have thus covered Nowruz with a religious garment (Tatar, 2007: p. 22).

Zahir al-Din Babar (888-937 AH), the founder of the Timurid dynasty in India, celebrated Nowruz in all situations, even when traveling. As in 910 AH, when he was in the valley of Gomel ،, the celebration of Nowruz and Eid al-Fitr was established in one day (Jafari: 1384: p. 4). This issue shows the position of Nowruz in the Islamic period, which is another reason for its preservation and extension.

In the Islamic period, in addition to Shiite elements, some of the customs of the two lands also influenced each other (Holister.1952.pp.120-25). In fact, it can be said that the increase in migration between Iran and India, which increased during the Muslim governments, indicates the continuation of this spiritual heritage in the mentioned period (Jackson, 1999, pp.75,79,179).


The continuation of Nowruz in the Islamic period of Iran has always been welcomed due to its existential philosophy and its connection with the issue of existence. Especially in the Safavid period, when the Shiite religion was declared the official religion, this acceptance doubled and continued in later periods. Today, as a spiritual heritage, it is held every year with respect.

Historical relations between the inhabitants of Iran and India

The historical relations and confrontations between the two lands of Iran and India are very old and extensive. In this section, Peugeot Hash tries to make some hints about the confirmation of the historical relations of the mentioned lands and its role in preserving the spiritual heritage of Nowruz; Indians have been familiar with Nowruz for a long time. And during their relations with the Achaemenid court, they were influenced by each other’s cultures. One of the authentic historical documents that show the presence of Iranians and Indians together and the celebration of Nowruz is the reliefs of gift givers in Persepolis. (Picture No. 1) Nowruz is so important for the Achaemenids that they build a huge and glorious building such as Persepolis as a place of celebration and ritual capital, to establish Nowruz and other rituals. The Persians established a state at that time that ruled the ancient world with the exception of two-thirds of Greece. (Shabani, 1389: p. 17) (Map No. 1). These reliefs represent a part of the Nowruz ceremony of the Achaemenid emperor, which has long been a valid and historical document. (Saeedi, 1376: p. 97).

Image No. 1: Images of Indians on the reliefs of Persepolis. (Adapted from Saeedi, 1997: p. 97).

Map No. 1. Achaemenid states in the time of Darius. (Adapted from Prada, 2004: p. 377).

These motifs can in fact indicate the existence of different ethnic groups as well as Indians along with Iranians and prove the awareness of the two lands about the existence of Nowruz, which is very important in the discussion of the historical dream of Iran and India (Weber and Wiesehofer, 1996, pp.614-16). It is noteworthy that the art of sculpture in ancient India also reflects the Achaemenid cultural influence in that land (Huntington, 1985.pp43,46). In contrast, the Achaemenids were involved in the construction of Persepolis and the ivory trade with the Indians (Henry, 1947, p.84). It can be said that the eastern borders of the Iranian plateau have always been indicative of the deep cultural relations between Iran and India (Foucher, 1942, p.188-Haneda, 1997, pp.132,133). The relationship between Iran and India since the time of Darius the Achaemenid and in receiving gifts from the kings of India, has always been mentioned in historical documents (Chattopadhya, 1974, pp.25.26 – Briant, 1996, pp.699.774).

In addition to the above, some sources emphasize the relationship between the two lands in the Seleucid period and their cultural influence in the field of architecture and the influence of Greek culture from Iran to India (Boardman, 1994, p. P260 – Alchin, 1995). .pp11.260.203,236.238).

Another historical document that indicates the connection between Iranians and Indians is the existence of coins of Parthian kings that confirm the existence of the Parthian dynasty of India (Mukharjee.1990.p66.Badian.1993.p318 – Khademi Nodoshan, Azizipour, 2012: p. 142 (Lamotte, 1958, pp.542,543 – Salomon, 1997, p.189. The analysis of the discovered coins describes the presence of a strong Iranian religious force (Ball, 1995, pp.444.448). The influence of Persian language on Sanskrit itself is another reason to confirm the historical relations between Iran and India (Sircar, 1973, p.13). Iran is in the Sassanid period (Kroger, 1981, pp.446.447-Khan, 1963, pp.13-16). . 1985, pp.357,369).

When the Transoxiana Turks entered the Indian subcontinent from Khorasan, they brought with them their original culture. From the poems of orators who lived in the Ghaznavid period (366 to 582 AH), it seems that in the days of the Ghaznavid sultans, Nowruz was celebrated. (Jafari, 1384: p. 4). Another historical event that is somehow related to the issue of Nowruz is the reign of Nasir al-Din Mohammad Homayoun in the city of Agra. In 947 AH, he was defeated for the second time by the Afghan Shah (948-952 AH). , Took refuge in Iran in 951 AH, and was warmly welcomed by Shah Tahmasb Safavid (930-948 AH). After fifteen years, he invaded India again in 926 AH and recaptured his hereditary throne. This victory had a greater cultural impact between the two lands. After that, many Iranians were appointed to positions there and marriages took place between them (Jafari, 2005: p. 5). With the resumption of repeated marriages of the daughters of Iranian princes with the Indian leaders of that time, many Iranian customs and traditions, including the celebration of Nowruz, penetrated into the culture of the Timurids of India. (Ibid.) What is certain is that Nowruz celebrations were held in the courts of Delhi sultans and Timurid kings with great care and special grandeur (Shahriar Naqavi, 1350: p. 2).

Noor Jahan Queen Noureddin Jahangir, who was Iranian, celebrated Nowruz in her palace with indescribable care. The court astronomers told him about the color that was related to Nowruz every year so that he could paint the walls of his house in the same color and celebrate Nowruz with his special ritual. (Baha, 1385: p. 22).

All the mentioned historical events prove the confrontation of Indian and Iranian ethnic groups in different periods of time. At all times, and having different religions from each other, they have tried to preserve and extend this spiritual heritage.


All rituals, traditions, beliefs and celebrations of Nowruz are full of spirituality, respect for creation, removal of turbidity, avoidance of evil, gratitude for divine blessings or deification of hearts, which is in fact the secret of Nowruz. From Islam until now, as well as its survival through the millennia of different lands, especially Iran and India. These cases have certainly not been unrelated to human religious beliefs throughout history, but have added to the durability and consistency of this ritual celebration. The joy of Nowruz brings an anti-evil message. So we find that filth has always been in conflict with human peace and comfort.

The spiritual heritage of Nowruz, which has been registered worldwide as a common heritage. In fact, it reflects the prominent place of similar religious beliefs among the lands that have always been respected for centuries and have never been stubborn in establishing it. In the lands of Iran and India, even the strongest invading forces, each of which has overcome them for some time, have never been able to destroy and eradicate this long-standing tradition. Because Nowruz has become ingrained and extended with the beliefs of the people of its time.

Respect for each other and creating friendship and friendship are among the goals of Nowruz. These messages have always transcended geographical boundaries and respected different religious beliefs. Another thing that has been able to preserve this spiritual and common heritage between different lands, especially Iran and India, is the historical relations and migrations that have taken place. These migrations in different eras have influenced their myths, views and religious beliefs to each other, and created a long-standing connection between these lands.


Nowruz spiritual heritage is in fact one of the common cultural-ritual features of Iran and India. This celebration, which is accompanied by a kind of worship and thanksgiving ceremony, is an ancient ritual, which has passed through the millennia and historical periods of the mentioned lands, and has become the most pleasant symbol of belief. Nowruz religion has not been monopolized at any time and in fact has been accepted as the highest and oldest cultural symbol among different lands with ethnic groups that have different religions. Although the ritual of Nowruz has been established over time, and in many lands with different forms and customs, it still contains a single message for solidarity and cohesion of relations between the lands that have always followed this ritual throughout history. Historical documents that confirm the migrations in the lands of Iran and India are another reason to preserve this common spiritual heritage. The Persians who settled in Mumbai turned it into a Persian stronghold and widely spread their traditions in Used there (Seervaiand, Patel, 1899, p.85- Palsetia, 2001, pp. 3-4). The presence of Persians in the modern period is also a sign of the continuation of these influences (Madan, 1990, p.63-White, 1987, pp.183,203- Bayly and Subrahmanyam, p.243 1990).

Nowruz symbolizes the continuous creation and attainment of greatness that has been associated with the circulation of nature and is itself a belief in respecting life. On the basis of this spiritual heritage among different nations, it has always provided the means of peace and victory and is an expression of the intellectual closeness as well as the long-standing friendship of its people, which can always be called good.


Research and research on religious beliefs, ritual traditions and similar spiritual heritages in the lands of Iran and India can be very useful from the perspective of theology, anthropology and historiography. Studying as much as possible can lead us to clear and decisive results in finding the commonalities of the two lands and illuminating some darkness in historical confrontations, in the fields of ethnography and recognizing religious connections. Nowruz is a good opportunity to hold it at the local, national and transnational levels, and for this reason it brings together interests as well as the field of brotherhood between the lands that pass it. We always try to introduce the element Do not undermine its spiritual and philosophical aspects.

Understanding the common religious beliefs and spiritual heritage of the lands of Iran and India requires the efforts of more and more theologians, theologians, anthropologists and historians, who hope in the future with the important results of the loved ones who work in this regard. Let’s face it.


The role of Iran a and India religious beliefs in maintaining spiritual and common mortality as Nowruz


Nowruz festival is the oldest ancient festivals and Iranian ritual which has not been determined its origin accurately. In the oldest mentioned texts about jamshid, the mythological king in Iran and Nowruz in the Avesta, pahlavi and persian texts and also Indian ancient religious book, we can realize the back ground of Nowruz and celebrating it between India and Iran residents.

The word Nowruz itself literally means new day which is celebrated on 21 March each year. It usually happens with the beginning of the new year and the coming of spring season au over wide geographical

territories ie Iran, India, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. This date has been determined on astronomical calculations. It is common in all of territories attached to Iran and also among all of nations which have had common destiny to Iran in its historical periods. spiritual heritage of Nowruz recorded in the world in 2009 and it is a life-giving celebration according to talent and approach of territories which kept it .Important religious and ideological beliefs which is common among the people of mentioned territories have always played a key role to secure this spiritual heritage and entrust to next generation. This research tends to introduce Nowruz as spiritual heritage and common between Iran and India, mean while it deals with position of religious beliefs between Iran and India in maintaining and continuing spiritual heritage.

Keywords: religious beliefs – spiritual heritage- Nowruz – history -Iran – India

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