Shintoism and Parseeism
Shintoism is the ancient religion of Japan. This religion has no recognized founder or an organized body of texts, and thus it is a less formal system of beliefs or philosophy and more a code of personal and social relationships.
The word "shinto" has Chinese origin, meaning "the way of the gods" or "Sacred Way". Japanese religion consists in veneration of Sun gods and of spiritual and mystical properties of certain geographical places such as lakes, rivers and mountains.
Rits and Ceremonies
Although no longer a state religion, Shintoist traditions coincide to a large extent with those of Japan, its festivals are celebrated by almost the entire population.
Shintoist temples are visited on a regular basis and with certain special occasions such as rites and festivals. The First visit to a temple is after 30 or 100 days after birth.
To celebrate the Sbicbigosan rite, children of age seven (sbicbi), five (go) and three (san) are brought to the temple to be blessed. Seijin-no-Hi (adult day) announces the age of majority, at 20 years. Most marriages are made after the Shintoist ritual, although most funerals are Buddhist.
Numerous festivals (matsuri), often very spectacular, take place during the entire year and consist of the purification ritual, prayer, sacrifice in the form of food for the celebrated spirits, solemn veneration and dance. The most spectacular festivals are Osore Zan-taisai on the Mountain Osore and On matsuri in Nara.
Parseeism, pre-Islamic religion, was founded by the prophet Zoroaster. It is believed that he lived somewhere in eastern Persia before the state was united under the leadership of Cirus the 2nd.Zoroasters’ teachings were gradually extended to western Persia, before the reign of Aristotle (384-322 i.Hr).
Ceremony and rituals
The ceremony plays an important role in modern parseeism. All members are initially young (the age of ten years in Iran and seven years in India) and are given sadre (shirt) and kustri (belt which symbolizes acceptance within the community).
There are also rituals of purification that may last for several days: padyab (laundering) nabn (bathing) and bareshnum which takes longer. In bareshnum, those who are purified must touch the left ear of a dog: it is believed that its look scares evil spirits.In temples, sacred fire must burn all the time and fuel is added to five times a day.
Establishment of a new fire involves a complex ceremony. Prayers are said five times daily. Recognition of sins involves reciting a patent, the oath to avoid future sins, and confession before a priest.
The main religious ceremony is Yasna, which involves a sacrifice of baoma (sacred liquid). in front of the sacred fire, while the priests recite excerpts from Avesta.Offerings are also made- currently consisting of bread and milk, but in the past made up of animal fat or meat.
There are six seasonal festivals (Gahanbars) and days spent in the memory of the dead at the end of the year. Each month of the year is dedicated to a particular goddess. A big New Year festival, Noruz, is organized in honor of Rapithwin, personification of noon and summer.
Parsee funeral rituals are complexe. After death, a dog is placed in front of the deceased five times a day. The dog should be preferably with "four eyes" ,to have one blemish on the skin above both eyes, because these spots are considered to be more effective in chasing evil spirits.
Parseeism claims that life after death is determined by the balance between facts, words and thoughts of good and evil during one’s life.