Fire worship

Worship or deification of fire (also pyrodulia, pyrolatry or pyrolatria) is known from various religions. Fire has been an important part of human culture since the Lower Paleolithic. The earliest known traces of controlled fire were found at the Daughters of Jacob Bridge, Israel, and dated to 790,000 years ago.[1] Religious or animist notions connected to fire are assumed to reach back to such early pre-Homo sapiens times.

Indo-Parthian stone palette, illustrating a fire worship, possibly of a Zoroastrian nature.
Agni 18th century miniature
Agni the Hindu deity of fire, has a very prominent place among Rigvedic deities.

Indo-European religions

In Indo-European languages, there were two concepts regarding fire: that of an animate type called *egni- (cf. Sanskrit agni English ignite from Latin ignis, and Russian ogon), and an inanimate type *paewr- (cf. English - fire, Greek pyr, Sanskrit pu). A similar distinction existed for water.[2]

Archaeologically, the earliest evidence for Indo-Iranian fire worship is found at the transition from the Sintashta-Petrovka to the Fedorovo culture around 1500 BC, together with first evidence of cremation. While cremation became ubiquitous in Hinduism, it came to be disavowed in Zoroastrianism. However, even earlier evidences of vedic fire altars have been found at the Indus Valley sites of Kalibangan and Lothal, giving rise to speculations toward earlier assumed the geographical location of the early Indo-Iranians.

Although the term "fire-worshippers" is primarily associated with Zoroastrians, the idea that Zoroastrians worship fire is originally from anti-Zoroastrian polemic. Instead, fire—even in a fire temple (the Zoroastrian terms are more prosaic and simply mean "house of fire")—is considered to be an agent of purity and as a symbol of righteousness and truth. In the present day this is explained to be because fire burns ever-upward and cannot itself be polluted. Nonetheless, Sadeh and Chaharshanbe Suri are both fire-related festivals celebrated throughout Greater Iran and date back to when Zoroastrianism was still the predominant religion of the region.

In Vedic disciplines of Hinduism, fire is a central element in the Yajna ceremony, with Agni, "fire", playing the role as mediator between the worshipper and the other gods. Related concepts are the Agnihotra ritual, the invocation of the healing properties of fire; the Agnicayana ritual, which is the building of a fire altar to Agni; and Agnistoma, which is one of the seven Somayajnas. In the Vaishnav branch of Hinduism, Agni or Fire is considered the tongue of the Supreme Lord Narayana, hence all the sacrifices done even to any demigod ultimately is a sacrifice to the Supreme Lord Narayana.[3]

Fire worship in Graeco-Roman tradition had two separate forms: fire of the hearth and fire of the forge. Hearth worship was maintained in Rome by the Vestal Virgins, who served the goddess Vesta, protector of the home, who had a sacred flame as the symbol of her presence in the city (cf. Sacred fire of Vesta). The Greek equivalent of the goddess was Hestia, whose worship took place more commonly within the household. The fire of the forge was associated with the Greek god Hephaestus and the Roman equivalent Vulcan. These two seem to have served both as craft-guild patrons and as protectors against accidental fires in cities. Also associated with fire is the titanic god Prometheus, who stole fire for humans from the gods. Most forms of worship in Graeco-Roman religion involved either cooking or burning completely an animal on a fire made on an altar in front of a temple (see hecatomb).

Celtic mythology had Belenus, whose name, "shining one", associated him with fire.

In Slavic mythology, Svarog, meaning "bright and clear", was the spirit of fire. The best known and dramatic among numerous Slavic Pagan fire rituals is the jumping over the bonfire on the Ivan Kupala Day.

Semitic religions

Fire is an element of theophany in the Hebrew Bible's burning bush, pillar of fire, and the flame of the Menorah. The highest form of sacrifice was the Korban Olah, performed twice-daily, which is an animal sacrifice completely consumed by fire.

Islam on the other hand has no rituals associated with fire and burning. The Quran describes the devil as a creature of fire. The devil's rejection and contempt toward humans originate from the devil's perception that fire is superior to mud. This sentiment was the cause of the devil's banishment from the heavens.

Other religions

Fire continues to be a part of many human religions and cultures. For example, it is used in cremation and bonfires; candles are used in various religious ceremonies; eternal flames are used to remind of notable occasions; and the Olympic Flame burns for the duration of the games.

The Holy Fire in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem has been consecutively documented since 1106 AD.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Goren-Inbar, Naama; Alperson, Nira; Kislev, Mordechai E.; Simchoni, Orit; Melamed, Yoel; Ben-Nun, Adi; Werker, Ella (30 April 2004). "Evidence of Hominin Control of Fire at Gesher Benot Ya'aqov, Israel". Science. 304 (5671): 725–727. doi:10.1126/science.1095443. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 15118160.
  2. ^ "Fire".
  3. ^ Madhulika Sharma (2002). Fire Worship in Ancient India. Jaipur Publication Scheme. ISBN 978-81-86782-57-6.
  4. ^ "Holy Fire. Holy Fire in Jerusalem is yearly miracle in Church of Holy Sepulchre".

Agnihotra (IAST: Agnihotra, Devanagari: अग्निहोत्र) refers to the twice-daily heated milk offering made by those in the Śrauta tradition. This tradition dates back to the Vedic age; the Brahmans perform the Agnihotra ritual chanting the verses from the Rigveda. The tradition is now practiced in many parts of South Asia in the Indian sub-continent, including primarily India and most particularly in Nepal. The Brahman who performs Agnihotra ritual is called Agnihotri.

The history of Agnihotra ritual — the casting of cow milk (or ghee) into the fire, at every sunset and at every sunrise — has been traced from a common Indo-Iranian fire-worship ritual including Zoroastrian Yasna Haptaŋhāiti ritual mentioned in the Old Avestan. This was already popular in India with Upaniṣads as religious performance.


Alaz (Turkish: Alaz, Azerbaijanese: Alaz) is god of fire in Turkic mythology. Also known as Alas-Batyr or sometimes Alaz Khan. He is an important deity in folk beliefs and son of Kayra.

Angiras (sage)

Angiras (अंगिरस्, pronounced [əŋɡirəs]) is a Vedic rishi (sage) of Hinduism. He is described in the Rigveda as a teacher of divine knowledge, a mediator between men and gods, as well as stated in other hymns to be the first of Agni-devas (fire gods). In some texts, he is considered to be one of the seven great sages or saptarishis, but in others he is mentioned but not counted in the list of seven great sages. In some manuscripts of Atharvaveda, the text is attributed to "Atharvangirasah", which is a compound of sage Atharvan and Angiras. The student family of Angiras are called "Angirasa", and they are credited to be the authors of some hymns in the first, second, fifth, eighth, ninth and tenth book of the Rigveda.Angiras is common name, and the numerous mentions in ancient and medieval Indian texts may reflect different people with the same name. In the Hindu Epics and Puranas, his legends and mythologies are highly inconsistent.


Cappadocia (; also Capadocia; Greek: Καππαδοκία, Kappadokía, from Old Persian: Katpatuka, Armenian: Կապադովկիա, Kapadovkia, Turkish: Kapadokya) is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in the Nevşehir, Kayseri, Kırşehir, Aksaray, and Niğde Provinces in Turkey.

According to Herodotus, in the time of the Ionian Revolt (499 BC), the Cappadocians were reported as occupying a region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine (Black Sea). Cappadocia, in this sense, was bounded in the south by the chain of the Taurus Mountains that separate it from Cilicia, to the east by the upper Euphrates, to the north by Pontus, and to the west by Lycaonia and eastern Galatia.The name, traditionally used in Christian sources throughout history, continues in use as an international tourism concept to define a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique historical and cultural heritage.

Christmas in Scotland

Christmas in Scotland did not become a public holiday until 1958.

Prior to the Reformation of 1560, Christmas in Scotland, then called Yule (alternative spellings include Yhoill, Yuil, Ȝule and Ȝoull; see Yogh), was celebrated in a similar fashion to the rest of Catholic Europe. Calderwood recorded that in 1545, a few months before his murder, Cardinal Beaton had "passed over the Christmasse dayes with games and feasting". However, the Reformation transformed attitudes to traditional Christian feasting days, including Christmas, and led in practice to the abolition of festival days and other church holidays; the Kirk and the state being closely linked in Scotland during the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period.

A 1640 Act of the Parliament of Scotland abolished the "Yule vacation and all observation thereof in time coming".

Christmas did not become a public holiday in Scotland until 1958.

Complete Divine

Complete Divine is a supplemental rulebook for the 3.5 edition of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game published by Wizards of the Coast. It replaces and expands upon earlier rulebooks entitled Masters of the Wild and Defenders of the Faith, as well as being a catchall for anything that doesn't fit into Complete Adventurer, Complete Arcane, Complete Warrior, or Complete Psionic.


A dhuni is (according to the Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc.) a sacred site represented as a cleft in the ground. This cleft is emblematic of the yoni or female vulva and generative organ. A dhuni therefore represents a site of worship dedicated to Shakti.

The dhuni (or dhunga) is also a term used in Indian cuisine to describe the process of cooking food by placing smoking charcoal into the finished dish.


Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition.

Fire is hot because the conversion of the weak double bond in molecular oxygen, O2, to the stronger bonds in the combustion products carbon dioxide and water releases energy (418 kJ per 32 g of O2); the bond energies of the fuel play only a minor role here. At a certain point in the combustion reaction, called the ignition point, flames are produced. The flame is the visible portion of the fire. Flames consist primarily of carbon dioxide, water vapor, oxygen and nitrogen. If hot enough, the gases may become ionized to produce plasma. Depending on the substances alight, and any impurities outside, the color of the flame and the fire's intensity will be different.

Fire in its most common form can result in conflagration, which has the potential to cause physical damage through burning. Fire is an important process that affects ecological systems around the globe. The positive effects of fire include stimulating growth and maintaining various ecological systems.

The negative effects of fire include hazard to life and property, atmospheric pollution, and water contamination. If fire removes protective vegetation, heavy rainfall may lead to an increase in soil erosion by water. Also, when vegetation is burned, the nitrogen it contains is released into the atmosphere, unlike elements such as potassium and phosphorus which remain in the ash and are quickly recycled into the soil. This loss of nitrogen caused by a fire produces a long-term reduction in the fertility of the soil, which only slowly recovers as nitrogen is "fixed" from the atmosphere by lightning and by leguminous plants such as clover.

Fire has been used by humans in rituals, in agriculture for clearing land, for cooking, generating heat and light, for signaling, propulsion purposes, smelting, forging, incineration of waste, cremation, and as a weapon or mode of destruction.

Fire (classical element)

Fire has been an important part of all cultures and religions from pre-history to modern day and was vital to the development of civilization. It has been regarded in many different contexts throughout history, but especially as a metaphysical constant of the world.

List of fire gods

This is a list of deities in fire worship.

Nature worship

Nature worship is any of a variety of religious, spiritual and devotional practices that focus on the worship of the nature spirits considered to be behind the natural phenomena visible throughout nature. A nature deity can be in charge of nature, a place, a biotope, the biosphere, the cosmos, or the universe. Nature worship is often considered the primitive source of modern religious beliefs and can be found in theism, panentheism, pantheism, deism, polytheism, animism, totemism, shamanism, paganism. Common to most forms of nature worship is a spiritual focus on the individual's connection and influence on some aspects of the natural world and reverence towards it.

Nauruz in Afghanistan

Nauruz (Dari: نوروز‎; Pashto: نوروز‎) is celebrated widely in Afghanistan. Also known as Farmer's Day, the observances usually last two weeks, culminating on the first day of the Afghan New Year, March 21. During the Taliban rule (1996–2001), Nauruz was banned and considered an "ancient pagan holiday centered on fire worship". Preparations for Nauruz start several days beforehand, at least after Chaharshanbe Suri, the last Wednesday before the New Year. Among various traditions and customs, the most important ones are as following:

Guli Surkh festival (Dari: ميله‌ى گل سرخ‎): The Guli Surkh festival which literally means Red Flower Festival (referring to the red Tulip flowers) is the principal festival for Nauruz. It is celebrated in Mazar-i- Sharif during the first 40 days of the year when the Tulip flowers grow in the green plains and on the hills surrounding the city. People from all over the country travel to Mazar-i-Sharif to attend the Nauruz festivals. Various activities and customs are performed during the Guli Surkh festival, including the Jahenda Bala event and the Buzkashi games.

Jahenda Bālā (Dari: جهنده بالا‎): Jahenda Bala is celebrated on the first day of the New Year (i.e. Nauruz), and is attended by high-ranking government officials such as the Vice-President, Ministers, and Provincial Governors. It is a specific religious ceremony performed in the Blue Mosque of Mazar that is believed (mostly by Sunnite Afghans) to be the site of the tomb of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth caliph of Islam. The ceremony is performed by raising a special banner whose color configuration resembles Derafsh Kaviani. This is the biggest recorded Nauruz gathering where up to 200,000 people from all over Afghanistan get together in Mazar's central park around the Blue Mosque to celebrate the banner raising (Jahenda Bālā) ceremony.

Buzkashi: Along with other customs and celebrations, normally a Buzkashi tournament is held during the Guli Surkh festival in Mazar-i-Sharif, Kabul and other northern cities of Afghanistan.

Haft Mēwa (Dari: هفت میوه‎): In Afghanistan, people prepare Haft Mēwa (literally translates as Seven Fruits) in addition to or instead of Haft Sin which is common in Iran. Haft Mewa is like a fruit salad made from seven different dried fruits, served in their own syrup. The seven dried fruits are: raisins, Senjed (the dried fruit of the oleaster tree), pistachios, hazelnuts, prunes (dried apricots), walnuts and either almonds or another species of plum fruit.

Samanak: It is a special type of sweet dish made from germinated wheat, and is normally cooked or prepared on the eve of Nauruz or a few days before. Women have a special party for it during the night, and cook it from late in the evening till daylight, singing a special song: Samanak dar Josh o mā Kafcha zanem – Dochtaran* dar Khwāb o mā Dafcha zanem (* Dochter means daughter, young lady or girl).

Special cuisine: People cook special types of dishes for Nauruz, especially on the eve of Nauruz. Normally they cook Sabzi Chalaw, a dish made from rice and spinach. Moreover, the bakeries prepare a special type of cookie, called Kulcha-e Nauruzī, which is only baked for Nauruz. Another dish which is prepared mostly for the Nauruz days is Māhī wa Jelabī (Fried Fish and Jelabi) and it is the most common meal in picnics. In Afghanistan, it is a common custom among the affianced families that the fiancé's family give presents to or prepare special dishes for the fiancée's family on special occasions such as the two Eids (Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha), Barā'at and Nauruz. Hence, the special dish for Nauruz is Māhī wa Jelabī.

Sightseeing to Cercis fields: The citizens of Kabul go to Istalif, Charikar or other green places where the Cercis flowers grow. They go for a picnic with their family during the first two weeks of the new year.

Jashn-e Dehqān: Jashn-e Dehqan means The Festival of Farmers. It is celebrated on the first day of year, on which the farmers walk in the cities as a sign of encouragement for the agricultural production. In recent years, this activity is being performed only in Kabul and other major cities, in which the mayor and other high governmental personalities participate in watching and observing.

Kampirak: Like "Haji Nowruz" in Iran, he is an old bearded man wearing colorful clothes with a long hat and rosary who symbolizes beneficence and the power of nature yielding the forces of winter. He and his retinue pass village by village distributing gathered charities among people and do shows like reciting poems. The tradition is observed in central provinces specially Bamyan and Daykundi.

Prehistoric religion

Prehistoric religions are the religious beliefs and practices of prehistoric peoples. The term may cover Paleolithic religion, Mesolithic religion, Neolithic religion and Bronze Age religions.

Sacred fire

Sacred fire or holy fire may refer to:

Religionany instance of fire worship

fire personified in Indo-European religion

Atar in Zoroastrianism

Agni in Vedic religion and Hinduism

Sacred fire of Vesta in Roman polytheism

Holy Fire, a concept in Orthodox Christianity

The sacred fire in Solomon's Temple

The sacramental blessed Easter fire outside a Catholic church at the Easter Vigil night Mass on Holy Saturday which is the source of the flame for the Paschal candle, then the parishioners' candlesDiseaseVarious diseases all also referred to as St. Anthony's fire (disambiguation)Popular cultureSacred Fire EP is a 2011 album by Jimmy Cliff

Sacred Fire: Live in South America a 1993 album by Santana

Sacred Fire, a 2003 Dragonlance novel by Chris Pierson

Holy Fire, a 1996 novel by Bruce Sterling

Holy Fire, an album by Foals released in 2013

The Holy Fire, an American indie rock band

The Holy Fire, an EP by the eponymous band released in 2004Other

Holy Fire (fire), 2018 wildfire in California

Send the Fire

Send the Fire (Worship Sessions Volume 2) is Neal Morse's second album of contemporary worship music. Ten songs are original and two are covers ("Send the Fire" and "The Kind of Heart").

Stone palette

Stone palettes, also called toilet trays, are round trays commonly found in the areas of Bactria and Gandhara, which usually represent Greek mythological scenes. Some of them are attributed to the Indo-Greek period in the 2nd and 1st century BCE (a few were retrieved from the Indo-Greek stratum No.5 at Sirkap.) Many are considered to be of later production, around the 1st century CE during the time of the Indo-Parthians. They practically disappeared after the 1st century. Many have been found at the archaeological site of Sirkap, in today's Pakistan.


Trndez (also Tyarndarach and Candlemas Day) is a feast of purification in the Armenian Apostolic Church and Armenian Catholic Churches, celebrated 40 days after Jesus's birth. The two churches celebrate this on different days, the 13th (with celebrations on the eve of the 14th of February) and the 2nd of February. The celebration of the Trndez is pagan in origin and is originally connected with sun/fire worship in ancient pre-Christian Armenia, symbolizing the coming of spring and fertility.


Visperad or Visprad is either a particular Zoroastrian religious ceremony or the name given to a passage collection within the greater Avesta compendium of texts.

The Visperad ceremony "consists of the rituals of the Yasna, virtually unchanged, but with a liturgy extended by twenty-three supplementary sections." These supplementary sections (kardag) are then – from a philological perspective – the passages that make up the Visperad collection. The standard abbreviation for Visperad chapter-verse pointers is Vr., though Vsp. may also appear in older sources.

The name Visperad is a contraction of Avestan vispe ratavo, with an ambiguous meaning. Subject to how ratu is translated, vispe ratavo may be translated as "(prayer to) all patrons" or "all masters" or the older and today less common "all chiefs." or "all lords."

The Visperad ceremony – in medieval Zoroastrian texts referred to as the Jesht-i Visperad, that is, "Worship through praise (Yasht) of all the patrons," – developed as an "extended service" for celebrating the gahambars, the high Zoroastrian festivals that celebrate six season(al) events. As seasonal ("year cycle") festivals, the gahambars are dedicated to the Amesha Spentas, the divinites that are in tradition identified with specific aspects of creation, and through whom Ahura Mazda realized ("with his thought") creation. These "bounteous immortals" (amesha spentas) are the "all patrons" – the vispe ratavo – who apportion the bounty of creation. However, the Visperad ceremony itself is dedicated to Ahura Mazda, the ratūm berezem "high Master."The Visperad collection has no unity of its own, and is never recited separately from the Yasna. During a recital of the Visperad ceremony, the Visperad sections are not recited en bloc but are instead interleaved into the Yasna recital. The Visperad itself exalts several texts of the Yasna collection, including the Ahuna Vairya and the Airyaman ishya, the Gathas, and the Yasna Haptanghaiti (Visperad 13-16, 18-21, 23-24) Unlike in a regular Yasna recital, the Yasna Haptanghaiti is recited a second time between the 4th and 5th Gatha (the first time between the 1st and 2nd as in a standard Yasna). This second recitation is performed by the assistant priest (the raspi), and is often slower and more melodious. In contrast to barsom bundle of a regular Yasna, which has 21 rods (tae), the one used in a Visperad service has 35 rods.

The Visperad is only performed in the Havan Gah – between sunrise and noon – on the six gahambar days.Amongst Iranian Zoroastrians, for whom the seasonal festivals have a greater significance than for their Indian co-religionists, the Visperad ceremony has undergone significant modifications in the 20th century. The ritual – which is technically an "inner" one requiring ritual purity – is instead celebrated as an "outer" ritual where ritual purity is not a requirement. Often there is only one priest instead of the two that are actually required, and the priests sit at a table with only a lamp or candle representing the fire, so avoiding accusations of "fire worship."

Individual fires

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