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DOI: 10.46698/VNC.2021.14.7.006

THE CULT OF FIRE, WATER AND PURITY, OR ELEMENTS OF ZOROASTRISM IN THE ETHNO-RELIGIOUS TRADITION OF THE OSSETIANS

Ktsoeva, Sultana G.
Kavkaz Forum. 2021. Issue 7.
Abstract:
One of the most controversial, and therefore the most promising areas
of modern Ossetian studies is the problem of finding and explaining traces of
Zoroastrianism in the traditional religion of Ossetians. V.I. Abaev categorically
denied even the possibility of Zoroastrian influence on the religious tradition
of the Scythians, and, as a result, of the Alans, by virtue of which, the search
for Zoroastrian elements in the culture of the Ossetians was considered futile.
Nevertheless, the results of studies of a later period provide a basis for searching
for Zoroastrian parallels in Ossetian religious practice. It is common lnowledge,
that in the early Middle Ages, Zoroastrianism acted as an ideological tool in the
foreign policy of the Sassanids in the Western Caucasus and spread, as a rule,
among the Iranian peoples. Zoroastrianism encouraged the development of
cattle breeding: it was perceived as a struggle against the forces of evil, which
met the interests of the Alanian society and its needs. From the point of view of
archeology, traces of Zoroastrianism are most convincingly presented in the
crypt burial rite. The purpose of this article is to analyze some of the elements
of Zoroastrianism in the religious cult of the Ossetians, reflected in the narrative
written (non-archeological) sources of the early twentieth century. The soughtfor
features are especially clearly manifested in the Ossetian ritual practice of the
New Year’s cycle holidays. They are manifested in the practice of lighting the New
Year’s fire, as well as in elements similar to Zoroastrianism in the ritual cleansing
of dwellings and cattle stalls. In addition, in the practice of using ritual three pies
with cheese in ritual practice, the ancient Iranian cult of sacrifice to water, which
was also preserved in Zoroastrianism, can be associated with this,.
Keywords: ethnic religion of Ossetians, Zoroastrianism, cult of fire and water, ritual cleansing of the dwelling
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