Parsee in United Kingdom

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Ramniklal Mod - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Parsee
Country: United Kingdom
10/40 Window: No
Population: 4,400
World Population: 169,000
Primary Language: English
Primary Religion: Other / Small
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Persian
Affinity Bloc: Persian-Median
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Zoroastrian Parsees practice the pre-Islamic religion of the ancient Persian Empire. To escape Muslim persecution many Parsees moved to India. From India some Parsees went to Great Britain, Canada and the USA. The Parsees tend to be highly educated and successful in business wherever they reside. The Parsees in the UK speak the Parsi language at home and English with others. Only Bible recordings are available in Parsi.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Parsees in the UK are relatively wealthy and often own large businesses. They maintain contact with other Parsees who live all over the world. They encourage their children to obtain graduate degrees and to enter the professions. The Parsees will only marry within their group and accept no converts. If a young person marries outside the group, he or she will often be shunned by his or her family.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Zoroastrianism has fire as its symbol of deity. All religious rituals and rites of passage are performed with burning fire present, and it is often lit by sandalwood and oil. Fires burn continuously in homes, and the temple fire is forbidden to burn out. The Parsees believe in a Wise Creator god, Ahura Mazda. Wisdom is the most valued character trait by Zoroastrians. Angra Mainyu is the evil, dark god who fights against Ahura Mazda and his plans. Guardian angels are also primary to religious beliefs. Resurrection and salvation are part of their religious terminology, though they differ in meaning from Christian definitions. Ancestor worship is an emphasized aspect of worship. Pictures of deceased loved ones hang in homes and are prayed and bowed to. August marks a time dedicated to ancestor worship during which forgiveness is sought and the spirits are asked to join the living people. The Parsee people celebrate six seasonal festivals known as Gahambars. Each festival lasts five days and is a time of worship dedicated to Ahura Mazda. After worship, there are assemblies of feasting, fellowship, and acts of goodwill. Upon a baby's birth, mother and child are confined with a lamp to ward off demons. Parsees respect other faith systems and gods. The Bible is treated honorably as a religious text and Christ is also seen in a positive light and as a Messiah. Zoroastrians are generous to the poor and needy. They believe they go to heaven by reading or reciting their Zoroastrian scriptures and by their good works.

What Are Their Needs?

The Parsees have a certain amount of pride in their religion and high place in society. Pride can prevent one from seeing himself or herself as a sinner in need of a Savior. The Parsees must come to understand that only Jesus can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.

Prayer Points

Pray the Lord sends educated believers to make friends with the Parsees and tell them about Jesus. Pray the Lord raises up a disciple making movement among the Parsees of the UK. Pray God helps the Parsees to understand they can become believers in Christ without destroying their heritage and customs.

Text Source:   Joshua Project