Zoroastrian / Mazdayasnian Rites of Birth

A number of general rules are followed in all Mazdayasnian rites and rituals. The head must always be covered when one is speaking, and the North must never be faced during any religious activity. This latter rule is hypothesized to be related to the presence of many evil barbarians to the North of Iran.

The first religious event a Mazdayasnian partakes in is their birth in a consecrated place followed by a seclusion of forty days. Prior to the birth, the mother should pray for an easy delivery, a good and healthy child, and an abundance of milk. She is to abstain from sex once she is five months pregnant. She is also to abstain from touching dead or rotten things. There may have originally been some rites which were to be practiced while pregnant, but if there were they are no longer extant.

There were specific chapters on the subject of parturition in the lost Husparam Nask, and the most important details have been preserved. The delivery should take place in the house of the woman’s parents. A room should be chosen which is clean, dry, and infrequently frequented. If no delivery has taken place in the room before, it should be consecrated by priests before the delivery. This consecration is done in the form of the Afrinagan prayer.

As soon as the child is born, a lamp or fire is to be lit and kept burning for at least three days. This is to protect the child from demons during its very fragile first three days of post-womb existence. Some Mazdayasnians keep the fire burning for ten or forty days. The mother should drink sacred Haoma juice, a sacred drink made from the sacred Haoma plant in a Fire Temple, and she should share it with her infant. If this drink is unavailable, a substitute can be made at home with pomegranate leaves and Haoma twigs. The child may be named immediately, or they be named as they grow with a name based on their observed qualities.

After giving birth, the mother is to remain in the house and stay away from others, including her husband, for forty days, alone with the child and never leaving it alone.[1] She is also to avoid touching fire, water, and ordinary furniture. Anybody who touches her, including midwives or medical attendants, must take a sacred bath. After the forty-day period, the woman must take a sacred bath herself. This bath is administered by a priest with sacred water. The bedding and clothes of the woman from this period of confinement are to be destroyed.

[1] In the case of a still-birth, this period lasts only twelve days. This is according to the Vendidad (5:55-56).


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