Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

This gallery displays the celebration of Zoroastrians ancient mid-winter Sadeh festival, outside the capital Tehran, Iran.

Sadeh, celebrates the discovery of fire and its ability to banish the cold and dark, and it is held in the frigid depths of winter.

Sadeh was the national festival of ancient Persia when Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion, before the conquest of Islam in the 7th century. Now it is mostly celebrated just in the homes and temples of Iran's about 60,000 remaining Zoroastrians.

Zoroastrians once numbered in the millions but were persecuted and forced to convert after Muslims rose to power in Iran. A small number fled to India and their descendants became known as Parsis, or people from Persia. — Photos and text by AP

Comments (3) Closed

dr ali
Jan 31, 2012 04:04pm
surprising that hindus were left in the majority even after muslim rule of several hundred years.
Jan 31, 2012 08:30pm
May be Hinduism survived as its not only a religion but a culture or a way of life, so it can assimilates other beliefs and faiths
Feb 02, 2012 11:09am
Nice Picture!!!!!!!!!!!!111111111