News

  • Friday, June 09, 2023 7:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The research project  "Gen Z and Beyond: A Survey for Every Generation" conducted between 1 July 2021 to 19 April 2023  affiliated with the University of London and privately sponsored, aimed to gather data on Zoroastrian communities globally. It utilized an online survey that allowed participants from any location to answer. The project was conducted by a small team led by Dr. Sarah Stewart, with support from Dr. Nazneen Engineer and Joe Turtle.

    The survey sought to understand how individuals in different regions identify as Zoroastrians, their beliefs, religious practices, and devotional life. It also explored social habits, community engagement, knowledge dissemination through familial and communal channels, and interactions with non-Zoroastrian communities in social and workplace settings. With the global Zoroastrian population estimated at around 100,000 individuals, the survey aimed to identify challenges facing the community and provide valuable insights for community leaders to address them. Moreover, it aimed to create a comprehensive dataset for scholars and students studying the Zoroastrian religion, its history, and its people.

    “Among young people aged 18-25 who never married, finding a Zoroastrian partner was the preferred option”

    The first theme discusses the significance of marriage, intermarriage, raising children, and domestic life in relation to the declining number of Zoroastrians worldwide. Factors such as low fertility rates and delayed or non-existent marriages contribute to this decline. Traditional family patterns have been disrupted by migration and the decline of extended families. Among young people aged 18-25 who had never married, finding a Zoroastrian partner was the preferred option. However, for those who view ethnicity as integral to Zoroastrian identity, the fact that nearly half (49.5%) of respondents in this age group were in a relationship with or married to a non-Zoroastrian raises concerns about the decline of two-parent Zoroastrian households. A small percentage (6.8%) of respondents mentioned that their non-Zoroastrian spouses played a significant role in raising their children as Zoroastrians. Acceptance of intermarried spouses and offspring varied across different communities, with more resistance observed in traditional communities toward women who had married out compared to men. Attitudes toward gender are relevant to the discussion on intermarriage and population decline.

    The second theme discussed is the perception of cultural heritage and its connection to literary heritage. The survey included questions about two significant texts: the Shahnameh (Book of Kings) and the Qisseh-ye Sanjan (Story of Sanjan). The Shahnameh, which dates back to pre-Islamic times and incorporates ancient Zoroastrian hymns, holds great significance for Iranian Zoroastrians, Iranians in general, and many Parsis in India and the diaspora. The Qisseh-ye Sanjan narrates the legendary journey of Zoroastrians from Iran to India following the Islamic conquest in the 10th century. Younger respondents (18-25-year-olds) were more likely to be unfamiliar with the Qisseh-ye Sanjan (22.1%) or the Shahnameh (44.2%) compared to older respondents. Surprisingly, immigrants that came from Iran to India were more likely to consider the Shahnameh unimportant (44.7% vs. 33.3%) despite the expectation that they would attach greater importance to cultural stories to maintain their traditions.

    Migration is another significant theme discussed in the survey.
    The location where individuals settle and their sentiments toward the place they left, whether it is their birthplace or not, has implications for their sense of identity and belonging. As a marginalized and often persecuted minority in Iran, Zoroastrians have a history of leaving their homes and resettling elsewhere. Migration occurred within Iran, such as during the Safavid period when many Zoroastrians were forced to leave Esfahan and relocate to Yazd.

    Subsequently, migrations to India and other countries in Europe, Africa, the United States, and Britain shaped the modern Zoroastrian diaspora. It is common to find individuals who have migrated multiple times in their lives, often for educational or professional opportunities. The survey revealed that Zoroastrians adapt well to new circumstances and host communities, with 76.3% of respondents who had migrated considering their current place of residence as "home," where they feel they belong.

    The primary obstacle encountered in completing the project within the designated time frame was the surveys uptake. Despite efforts to engage with numerous Zoroastrian Associations in North America and establish a network of ambassadors to promote the project, the response was slow, indicating a prevalent "survey fatigue" syndrome that hindered the anticipated enthusiastic participation. In India, the challenge took a different form, as the team was not permitted to enter the Zoroastrian baugs to distribute leaflets as initially planned. Furthermore, some community leaders in India and other regions did not accept the eligibility criteria, resulting in limited publicity and negative coverage in the Parsi press. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic further complicated matters by making face-to-face communication impractical, leading some to question the appropriateness of conducting such a project and seeking funds during such a challenging time. Lastly, political unrest in Iran prevented any visits or promotions of the survey in that region.

    Overall, this project aimed to provide valuable insights into the global Zoroastrian community, its demographics, religious practices, and the challenges it faces. The survey was conducted on a large scale, allowing for global comparisons and contributing to the existing understanding of Zoroastrianism


    Written By: Nasha Makujina


    Extracted from the GEN Z AND BEYOND: A SURVEY FOR EVERY GENERATION report. You can download the full report on: https://genzandbeyond.com/

  • Friday, June 09, 2023 7:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Xenia Byramji (bottom in black) and her womenswear collection The Being. Exploring the connection of the earth and spiritual world, the journey of finding the higher self within.


    Xenia Byramji is a driven Fashion Designer, Visual Artist, and Stylist who is committed to incorporating natural and sustainable elements in her work. From a young age, she has demonstrated a keen interest in Fashion by experimenting with her mother's clothing, trying on different combinations of outfits, borrowing her mother's heels, purses, and testing makeup looks. Since childhood, Xenia was always the "Girly Girl", in contrast to her sister, Zoish, who was a “Tomboy”, and would style pieces for her sister despite her sister’s wishes, which encouraged Xenia to create innovative and unique designs.

    Xenia's first inspiration for Visual Art came from her grandfather, Kersi Banaji, who used graphite and charcoal to create beautiful portraits of his wife, Shenaz Banaji. Years of watching this artistic process helped reinforce Xenia's passion for the Arts.
    Xenia's Fashion Career began during her younger years when she became interested in designing fashion illustrations on her croquis. In 2017, she sought to gain professional experience in Fashion Design by building her portfolio at the Haute Couture Academy of Fashion, Fine Arts & Design.
    Going against her parents' vision to pursue a career in Business, Xenia continued to fight for Fashion Design and applied to her first choice, Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) School of Fashion (formerly Ryerson University) which is the oldest fashion program in Canada. According to Forbes, an American business magazine,  “It is one of the few art institutions with decolonization as a primary guiding principle along with inclusion and sustainability.” Through her perseverance, she got accepted in the Fashion Design program at TMU in 2018, which has a low acceptance rate of sixteen percent.

    However, during her path to success, she had to conquer many barriers. During her first two years of university, Xenia faced design restrictions and non-fashion-related courses that made her studies challenging. To overcome these challenges, she had to learn new skills such as Graphic Design, with the help of her friend, Cameron Pinto.

    Xenia came out of her comfort zone after her second year and began working on her Menswear Collection titled, Khaos, which allowed her to explore her own design aesthetic and found her voice. As she progressed to her fourth year, she gained a better understanding of her creative direction. While her current collection titled, The Being, is womenswear, she plans to continue working on womenswear, unisex and menswear garments for her future collections.

    Xenia is an adventurous women who enjoys taking walks in nature as well as practicing yoga and meditation on a daily basis to strengthen her spiritual awareness. Her daily routine gives her the space to experience new aspects of nature on a spiritual level which reflects on her work.

    Designer Xenia Byramji wanted something that would both intimidate and aid her journey of personal growth. Through her hard work and strong self-belief, Ahura Mazda answered Xenia’s prayers. The iconic Mass Exodus Runway Show was held on April 15, 2023. Xenia created and curated her third collection “The Being”, featuring 5 womenswear dresses inspired by the religion of Zoroastrianism, the monotheistic religion of ancient Persia emphasizing humankind’s relationship with nature. This capstone collection explores the connection of the earth and spiritual world, the journey of finding the higher self within. From look to look, the story unfolds by using the opacity of fabric to translate the idea and concept from spirit to human.

    White is the main color choice in this collection and is associated with light and goodness. In Zoroastrianism, the color white holds significant symbolic meaning as it is associated with purity and righteousness. Fabrics used in the collection are cotton voile, 100% cotton, and 100% silk to incorporate eco-friendly practices.

    Seeing her dreams turn into reality, Xenia's heart filled with gratitude. She expresses her deepest appreciation to Professor Danielle Martin for all her help and support during this entire process. Xenia wants to further express her heartfelt gratitude to her parents, sister and best friend Ammar, for their unwavering support in her fashion pursuits. Her family and friends are the core of Xenia’s heart and support system.

    For aspiring Zoroastrian creatives, Xenia strongly recommends they follow their passion and do everything in life with love.

    Interviewed and Written by Ardeshir Jamtorki
    Editor in Chiefs Zarah Irani and Zubin Irani
    Assisted by Shenaz Banaji and Huferesh Vania
    Reviewed by Xenia Byramji



  • Thursday, June 01, 2023 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


  • Wednesday, May 31, 2023 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    There is a financial incentive from ZSO, to ZSO youth members that are attending this year's 8th World Zoroastrian Youth Congress (8WZYC).

    ZSO has approved and allocated a budget for 2023 to those attending the 8WZYC.

    ZSO is committed to encourage youth and young adults to participate at this event.


    ELIGIBILITY

    • Must be the age of 35 years or younger
    • Must be registered for 8WZYC (proof of registration is mandatory)
    • Must be a current resident of Canada
    • Must have an active ZSO youth/adult membership in 2022-2023 and 2023-2024


    SHORT ESSAY

    Eligible candidates must complete the short essay questions provided below before the due date of May 31, 2023.

    • Who has been a role model for you from the Zoroastrian community and explain why and how has it influenced your life? (250-300 words)
    • How can the Zoroastrian Society of Ontario help to better support the youth? How will you continue to contribute to your community after the Congress? (250-300 words)


    PROCESS

    To submit your application please create an email with the following information listed below:

    To: communications@zso.org

    Subject: Financial Incentive for 8WZYC

    Email Body:

    First Name

    Last Name

    Phone Number

    Email Attachments:

    • Short essay attached must be formatted in Word (.doc, .docx) or PDF (.pdf) or Rich Text format (.rtf)
    • Attach your 8WZYC event ticket PDF file or forward your 8WZYC registration confirmation email to communications@zso.org


    The ZSO board will be reviewing applications, we thank everyone for their submission.


    FUND DISTRIBUTION

    ZSO will be equally distributing the funds and the final amounts will depend on how many successful applications are received by the deadline.


    TIMELINE

    April 13, 2023 - Email announcement

    May 31, 2023 - Application closes
    June 10, 2023 - Successful applicants will be informed by email
    June 12, 2023 - Funds disbursed

  • Tuesday, May 16, 2023 6:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    null


    Gen Z and Beyond: A Survey for Every Generation

    Final Report Now Available


    null

    FEZANA is happy to share that the Final Report of the Gen Z and Beyond Survey is now available to view and download.

    The Gen Z and Beyond Survey was supported by FEZANA and all its member associations. The findings of the report will help us and our member associations in their daily working and policy initiatives.

    An Executive Summary with key findings from the Report shall be shared in the coming weeks, and FEZANA will facilitate a roadshow to share these findings.


    SOAS, who conducted the survey and prepared the report write....

    We are pleased to announce that the report of the findings from Gen Z and Beyond: A Survey for Every Generation is now available. There you can also access the appendices for each chapter and the questionnaire.

    Gen Z and Beyond: A Survey for Every Generation was conducted using an in-depth, online questionnaire that reached a large, multinational population quickly and easily. We would like to thank all 5003 respondents who took the time to participate in the survey and contribute to this valuable resource.

    We are very grateful to our donors, ambassadors and volunteers without whom this project would not have been possible. We hope that this report, accompanying appendices, and the raw data will be useful to students, academics, and the Zoroastrian community worldwide.


    FEZANA joins SOAS in thanking all the participants of the survey. We also thank the initiators of the project, generous donors who made it possible and all the volunteers and ambassadors who worked towards its success. Our special thanks for the leadership provided by Dr. Sarah Stewart, Dr. Nazneen Engineer and Joe Turtle at SOAS for making this report possible.

    Read and Download Report

  • Thursday, May 11, 2023 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The 9th Ratanbai Katrak Lectures on Zoroastrianism


    Delivered by Prof. Dr. Alberto Cantera (Freie Universität Berlin) 101 years after the inauguration of the Ratanbai Katrak Lecturership at the University of Oxford Convened by Prof. Yuhan S-D Vevaina for the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

    ‘With which Yasna shall I worship you (kana θβąm yasna yazāne)? Zoroastrian Rituals in the Antique and Late Antique Iranian world’

    These lectures will stream on Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81728008051

    Join on Zoom

    Lecture 1: Manuscripts and Rituals: The Written Transmission of the Zoroastrian Rituals
    Thursday 11 May 2023, 12:30 PM Eastern | 9:30 AM Pacific
     
    Lecture 2: The Questioned Antiquity of the Zoroastrian Rituals: Their Reception in Western Academia
    Thursday 18 May 2023, 12:30 PM Eastern | 9:30 AM Pacific
     
    Lecture 3: The Ritual System: Modularity and Productivity
    Thursday 25 May 2023, 12:30 PM Eastern | 9:30 AM Pacific
     
    The above lectures can also be attended in person from 5:30 PM BST (British Summer Time) on all three days at Wolfson College, Linton Road, Oxford, OX2 6UD

    Three more lectures are scheduled for Autumn 2023 Contact: yuhan.vevaina@ames.ox.ac.uk 
     

    About Prof. Dr. Alberto Cantera


    Prof. Dr. Alberto Cantera is the Director of the Institute for Iranian Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. The focus of his work is on Zoroastrian textuality from Antiquity until the modern age, especially the Avestan texts, their reception in Late Antiquity, and their use in Zoroastrian rituals. He is responsible for transforming our collective understanding of the Avestan texts by emphasising their ritual character and is engaged in the monumental task of describing and understanding the history of Zoroastrian ritual practices. Since 2008 he has been the Director of the Avestan Digital Archive, the largest collection of Avestan manuscripts published online. Furthermore, he is the
    principal investigator of a long-term project preparing a new edition of all the Avestan texts used in the Zoroastrian rituals: Corpus Avesticum Berolinense. He is also one of the principal investigators of another long-term project in collaboration with the universities of Bochum and Cologne: The Digital Corpus and the Dictionary of Middle Persian. His published books include: Studien zur Pahlavi-Übersetzung des Avesta (Wiesbaden, 2004); Vers une édition de la liturgie longue zoroastrienne: pensées et travaux préliminaires (Leuven, 2014); and Introduction à l’avestique recent (Girona, 2019) together with Céline Redard; He is currently preparing a project on the Pahlavi nērangs or ritual instructions in the Iranian liturgical manuscripts.

  • Friday, May 05, 2023 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    null

    FEZANA Call for Participants for the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2023 ~ July 10 – 20, 2023 

    The FEZANA UN-NGO Committee is looking for participants to attend the High-Level Political Forum at the UN Headquarters in New York from July 10 - 20, 2023.

    This year's main focus will be on, "Accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels”

    In the forum, participants will be able to further discuss the effective and inclusive recovery measures to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and explore actionable policy guidance for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs at all levels. 

    The HLPF in 2023, without prejudice to the integrated, indivisible, and interlinked nature of the SDGs, will also review in-depth Goals 6 on clean water and sanitation, 7 on affordable and clean energy, 9 on the industry, innovation, and infrastructure, 11 on sustainable cities and communities, and 17 on partnerships for the Goals. 

    For more information on the HLPF, visit: https://hlpf.un.org/2023 

    Individuals interested in attending the conference, are requested to: 

    1. Fill in the form: shorturl.at/bijnx 
    2. Two-minute video recording of yourself on how you see yourself fitting into the UN. 
    3. Send your video, resume, and letter of intent for attending the HLPF by May 5, 2023, to both individuals: 
      Dr. Behram Pastakia (Behram@fezana.org), Miss Afreed Mistry (Afreed@fezana.org

    FEZANA, as an NGO in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Department of Global Communications (DGC), will facilitate registration to the HLPF.

    The selected participants are expected to make their own financial arrangements regarding visas, tickets, accommodation, food, and transportation in the city.

    Details about the vision, mission, and activities of the United Nations can be accessed at www.un.org

    Regards, 

    Miss Afreed Mistry 

    Dr. Behram Pastakia 

    Co-Chairs, FEZANA UN-NGO Committee
  • Sunday, April 02, 2023 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ART EXHIBIT OF POSTCARDS in a FAROHAR SHAPED COLLAGE

    FOR DISPLAY AT THE
    2023 PARLIAMENT OF WORLD’S RELIGIONS

    Theme
    A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom and Human Rights

    We are requesting your participation in this Project by sending us a Postcard with your message on DEFENDING FREEDOM AND HUMAN RIGHTS, which is the overarching theme of this year's Parliament of World's Religions. 

    We will put these Postcard messages from our communities around the world, in a Farohar shaped collage, displayed in the Exhibits section at the Parliament, from 14th through 18th August at the McCormick Place Lakeside Center in Chicago, USA.  Through this display, we will enable the voices of our world-wide Zoroastrian community members to join those hundreds of voices speaking at the Parliament on Defending Freedom and Human Rights.  

    The Instructions on preparing these postcards are given below.  We look forward to receiving your response as soon as possible, but no later than 30th April, 2023.

    You may reach us anytime with questions.

    The contact email is ­­­­­­powr@fezana.org  

    Thanking you, and with our best wishes to all,

    Sincerely,
    Bakhtavar Desai and Homi D. Gandhi
    Co-Chairs, Interfaith Activities, FEZANA


    Instructions for Submitting your Postcard:

    Individuals (or Teams of individuals) will write and submit one postcard on the theme of the Parliament: A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom and Human Rights


    Where To Send:

    You may scan and email your entry to us at ­­­­­­powr@fezana.org

    If you wish to mail your entry, you can send it to:
    Fezana-POWR Postcard, 8615 Meadowbrook Drive, Burr Ridge, IL 60527 U.S.A
    ­­­­­­­
    To ensure your entry reaches us safely and timely, we encourage you to email it to us.

    Deadline for receiving the entries: 30th April, 2023

     

    Scanning Options:

    Any scanning app on your phone will work fine. Here is one app and its instructions: Adobe Scanner (free app) on your phone to send in your entry. Use bright light when you scan please.  Instructions are viewable in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HE3IRDblu8U

     

    Size Of Postcard:

    It should be the size (and paper thickness) of an Index Card – 3 inches (7.6cm) tall x 5 inches (12.7cm) wide. If you use a slightly larger size, it is fine, just be sure to keep your message/art within the 2.5 inches to 4.5 inches boundary as we may need to make size modifications. This will be the project that will be included in the installation. If you feel you need to add a mini paragraph to explain your creation, please include a separate postcard which will not be included in the creation. You may include your creations in English, Farsi, Dari or Gujarati.
     

    Details for Submission:

    Font – 0.25 inches to 0.5 inches

    You can use one of these various forms of expression for entry submission:

    ART

    • Create a word bubble and insert 7-10 words within the bubble on the PoWR theme
    • Create a miniature painting or drawing on the theme
    • Create a mini collage on the theme
    WRITING
    Ecology and Zoroastrianism (write 3-4 lines). While the green movement has caught the attention of many now, Zoroastrianism teaches respect for all creations. Select 1-3 creations and write one line on how each of these apply to the PoWR theme.

    Poem (Write 4 lines)
    Following the Spenta Mainyu Gatha (Bounteous Spirit/Wisdom) Yasna 47-50
    (Modified using the Gathic meter of 4 verses with 4 syllables + 7 syllables per meter).

    Write four lines on the PoWR theme

    Line 1 – 4 syllables
    Line 2 – 7 syllables
    Line 3 – 4 syllables
    Line 4 – 7 syllables

    Lines do not have to rhyme but they do need to follow the theme of the PoWR

    Humata, Hukata, Huvareshta -Three lines with three tenets in mind – Good thoughts, good words, good deeds. Each line should be literally that, fit within a line.
    • Line 1 – A good thought that applies to the theme
    • Line 2 – A good word(s) that apply to the theme
    • Line 3 – A good deed that applies to the theme
    Cyrus the Great, defender of human freedom
    • Cyrus is considered the definitive ruler to have established human rights and the British museum has the translation of the cuneiform inscription. Select 1-3 phrases of the inscription that apply to the PoWR theme and write them on the postcard
    (Resource: https://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/History/hakhamaneshian/Cyrus-the-great/cyrus_cylinder_complete.htm)

    MUSIC

    • Create a 1-2 lines musical script based on the theme. Script has to be written in the five-line musical script format.

    Note: Your entries will not be returned to you. (Although we will try and include as many as possible, your entries may not be used in the final project) If we receive an overwhelming response of entries, we may not be able to use all of them for the collage exhibit.
    Thank you for lending your voice to defending freedom and human rights in our world!

    SAMPLES OF POSTCARDS

    For any questions write to: powr@fezana.org

  • Sunday, March 19, 2023 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Zoroastrian Summer School 2023
    Applications Now Open!

    We are pleased to announce that applications for the Zoroastrian Summer School 2023 are now open. The course will take place from the 26 to 30th June 2023 at the Norwegian Institute in Rome, in collaboration with the University of Bergen.

    Students at the 2022 summer school

    The topic of the course is ‘Zoroastrianism as a religious minority in modern and contemporary Iran’. This course is a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the study of Zoroastrianism. Students will be given an intensive learning experience consisting of lectures, discussions and interactive workshops. The course will be delivered by leading academics from Norway, the UK and the US.

    Applications are open to both current (undergraduate or master’s) students and graduates. There are no tuition fees, and only a £40 registration fee for successful applicants. We are pleased to offer three bursaries of up to £1000 to help with the costs of travel and accommodation.

    The deadline for applications is 19th March 2023. To find more information on the course details and application requirements, please visit the SSPIZS website.

    We look forward to reading your applications!

© Zoroastrian Society of Ontario - All Rights Reserved