Prayer Class Activities - 2012
A brief excerpt taken from http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/
The Eternal Flame
Zoroastrians turn towards a flame, athra/atash, or source of light when they worship. At the heart of a Zoroastrian place of worship burns a fire - and where possible the fire burns continuously as an ever-burning flame symbolizing an eternal spiritual flame.
The temporal fire represents the spiritual flame, mainyu athra, within us, the divine fire of creation, and the undying ethical values of Asha: honesty, order, beneficence, fairness and justice. The symbolism of the eternal flame in Zoroastrianism can be compared to the symbolism of the Olympic flame- it symbolizes core ethical values and principles. The ritual in lighting the Olympic flame and in its installation, the reverence with which the flame is treated, and the awe the flame inspires, are all very Zoroastrian-like. While it is the values behind the flame that are at the core of its symbolism, the flame in this context acquires an aura of sacredness, for to harm or sully the flame means harm to the values represented (in a fashion similar to the manner in which a nation's flag acquires an aura of sacredness. Desecrating such a flag can cause great offense for it is not the cloth of the flag being desecrated but everything the flag represents).
In Zoroastrianism, light represents wisdom while darkness represents ignorance. Ignorance and darkness are the absence of wisdom and light. Indeed, a contemplation of the fire reveals all the values and principles at the heart of Zoroastrianism.
ZANZ Prayer Class
ZANZ commenced its prayer class sessions for the year 2012 from 4th Feb onwards. ZANZ conducts prayer classes every month with the help of volunteers at Te Tuhi from 4.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. We start our classes with hum bandagi and then we sing our two monajats “Khudavind Khavind” and “Chhaiye hame Zarathoshti”. The class is then segregated into pre-Navjote, intermediate and post-Navjote groups.
The pre-Navjote pupils are taught our kusti prayers, 101 names of Ahura Mazda, 30 days of the month, 12 months of the year, Din no kalmo and Dua- tandarosti. Our veterans Mana Vazifdar, Thrity Mistry and Minoo Siganporia impart this religious knowledge to our young children. The aim of this class is to teach the kusti prayers and also to make them learn how to tie a kusti. The children will therefore be ready for the Navjote ceremony where they can pray confidently. Short religious stories are also sometimes narrated to our children.
The Intermediate students’ class is conducted by Yutaz Saher. A brainstorm activity was conducted at the beginning of the year leading to a pool of questions by the children wherein they were eager to learn about the Navjote and our existence in Zoroastrianism.
Navjote is a traditional ceremony wherein a child is inducted into the Zoroastrian religion and begins to wear the Sudreh and Khusti. For children to understand the cultural meaning and significance of the ritual without overpowering them with a lot of information the sessions were divided into the following:
- Sudreh and Khusti
- Meaning of the Navjote prayers
To keep children engaged and enthusiastic throughout the session activity sheets, games and discussions were carried out allowing them to grasp the concepts of our ceremony and various rituals. Additionally, in every session our prayer class ended with a few sessions of how our religion came to be.
Our post-Navjote students’ class is conducted by Tehmus Mistry. These kids know their basic Kusti prayers and are keen to learn something more about our Religion. They are fascinated about our history, the significance of various religious ceremonies and symbols, background and stories of miracles performed by Dasturji Kukadaru sahebji and Mushkil Aasan Behram Yazd, the dateline of our Religion and the arrival of Zoroastrians in India.
Last Prayer Class
Our last prayer class for this year was held on 3rd Nov where the children were given a special treat of burgers, chips and juice. The children enjoy every prayer class and at times it may seem monotonous, but adding some fun and laughter brings excitement and makes the class lively.
Importance of Prayer Classes
ZANZ's Prayer classes are an important part of our association and these are held every month. Our attendance in this class ranges from 15 to 24 pupils and we are glad that this has continued even when we have long weekends. This shows the commitment and interest not only from the pupils but also their parents.
We encourage Zoroastrian parents to send their children regularly for prayer classes. Please feel free to circulate this email amongst your Zoroastrian friends in Auckland. If you know of anyone who would like to send their children to our classes please contact any committee member or Minoo Siganporia. ZANZ Prayer classes are open to all Zoroastrians irrespective of membership.
We would like to thank all our volunteers who selflessly give their time towards the religious education of our children.
We will announce the schedule of prayer classes for the year 2013 in January.
ZANZ Management Committee