Parsi Ceremonial Tower Leaves The Dead

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Parsi Ceremonial Tower Leaves The Dead To Be Picked Off By Birds.

The chilling history of the way Zoroastrians (one of the world’s smallest and oldest religions on Earth) dispose of their dead is shocking indeed.

Zoroastrians don’t believe in burying or cremating their dead. While mafia bosses poetically feed their victims to the fishes, these people believe that it’s right and wholesome to feed their dead to the birds.

But you can’t drop the soon-to-be-bird-food bodies of your loved ones just anywhere. To solve that problem, the Zoroastrians created something called the Tower of Silence. These towers may resemble Ronan the Accuser’s torture chamber, but you can rest assured that everyone in the Tower of Silence is already dead.

The first recorded evidence of Zoroastrian towers dates all the way back to the 9th century.

parsi tower of silence
They call this place the “Tower of Silence” and it’s use can be traced back to the 9th century. In this simple process, dead bodies are placed on these platforms while birds eat their flesh. Men, women, and children are separated on the three rows seen here.

After the birds have feasted, the bones and remains are pushed onto the bottom level, where they decompose and return to the soil.

Zoroastrian tradition holds that demons enter bodies upon death. The only way to purify these bodies is to give them to the birds.

 

Each tower is divided into three rings.

tower of silence interior view

The outermost ring is for men, the second ring is for women, and the innermost ring is for children.

 

The bodies remain there for about a year.

Parsi tower of silence bodies

Over the course of that year, the corpses are baked by the sun and picked at by birds.

The bones are then placed in the ossuary pit below.

parsi tower of silence dead bodies

That’s where they ultimately rot and become one with the soil.

The towers are kept away from surrounding villages.

parsi pallbearers

Only the Zoroastrian pallbearers are allowed to enter this sacred place. Zoroastrians believe that when a person dies, demons enter the body and allowing them to be consumed by birds after death is a way to rid them of their demonic possession.

It may seem like a bizarre practice to us, but is feeding your dead to the birds any weirder than burying them in the ground? Examining funeral rites gives us a fascinating look into the human race’s obsession with death.

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