Naujote

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Naujote (generally interpreted as ‘new birth’). The Zoroastrian initiation ceremony. The central conviction behind Zoroastrian ethics is the emphasis on human free will. Initiation, therefore, cannot take place until a child is old enough to choose for him/herself, usually seen as just before the age of puberty. Prior to the ceremony, the initiate has a ritual bath (nahn) inwardly cleansed by a sip of nirang (consecrated cow's urine). Fundamentally the rite consists of the investiture by the priest (magi) with the sacred shirt and cord, the sudre and kusti (sometimes referred to as the ‘armour of faith’) and the first ritual recital of the associated prayers which the initiate should henceforth offer five times daily.

The sudre/kusti prayers are one of only two compulsory religious duties in Zoroastrianism. The other is observance of the gahambar (festivals). The sudre is made of cotton and is worn at all times next to the skin, like a vest. It is white to symbolize purity and has a small pocket at the front of the ‘V’ neckline in which the faithful are exhorted to store up good thoughts, words, and deeds. The kusti is a long lamb's wool cord, tied around the waist (unlike the brahman cord, both of which presumably originated in Indo-Iranian religion).

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