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What is Nowruz? Zoroastrians – West Asian holidays

By | 2018-04-25T23:58:29+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Persepolis may have been built in the 500s BC as a place to celebrate Nowruz. Zoroastrianism became much more popular suddenly when the Persian kings became Zoroastrians around 550 BC. Soon after that, Zoroastrian worshippers began to celebrate the first day of spring as an important holiday. That was the first day of their New Year. Nowruz is [...]

What’s the Enuma Elish? West Asian religion

By | 2018-04-16T08:50:23+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Clay tablets with cuneiform writing of the Enuma Elish Story of Creation By about the time of Hammurabi, about 1700 BC, people in the Babylonian Empire were beginning to write down this story about the creation of the world. The name, Enuma Elish, comes from the first two words of the poem, which mean "when on high". [...]

Where did Purim come from? Jewish holidays

By | 2018-04-24T23:19:06+00:00 August 24th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Mordecai is leading Esther (on the horse) to talk to the Persian king. A fresco from the world's oldest preserved synagogue at Dura-Europos in Syria (244 AD) At first, maybe as early as the Stone Age, Purim was a Jewish winter festival that was probably related to the Babylonian New Year celebration and the Zoroastrian [...]

Where did Passover come from? Jewish holidays

By | 2017-08-24T14:32:07+00:00 August 24th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Handmade Matzoh In its earliest beginnings, which could go back to the Stone Age, Passover was a Jewish spring festival. It celebrated the first barley harvest after the winter. All winter there had not really been enough to eat. Now in March or so there was finally some fresh new barley bread to eat! People were [...]

History of Easter – Christian holidays

By | 2018-04-09T23:07:33+00:00 August 21st, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Wheat and barley on the Warka Vase (Sumeria, ca. 3200-3000 BC) When people moved out of Africa further north to West Asia and then to Europe, about 60,000 BC, they began to live in a world with changing seasons, where it was hard to find fresh food in the wintertime. People would get pretty hungry in the last part [...]

Chinese New Year – Ancient China

By | 2018-04-18T17:29:31+00:00 June 7th, 2017|China, Religion|

Chinese moon cakes for the New Year People in China probably started to celebrate the New Year - the beginning of farming in the spring - around the same time they started farming, about 3000 BC. People in West Asia were already celebrating the New Year in early spring by that time, and [...]