The Faravahar is an iconic symbol of the ancient Persian religion, Zoroastrianism. The word is comprised of two parts: “Fara”, meaning forward, and “Vahar” which translates into pulling, together denoting a “forward-pulling force”. The illustrations of a holy man’s upper body along with the winged discus are images deeply rooted in West Asian history, culture, and art.
The ring in the figure’s left hand symbolizes unity and loyalty as his right hand points toward the rising sun. Zoroastrians claim Faravahar’s ring is the origin of the wedding band being placed on the left hand, thus uniting the bride and groom in a life-long pact.
The Faravahar serves as a reminder of one’s purpose in life and the progression of the human soul, wisdom and divine glory, while personifying Zoroastrianism’s primary principles of Good Deeds, Good Thoughts, and Good Words. The same principles have influenced Judaism and Greek philosophies. Persian and Zoroastrians believe that all living things posses their personal Faravahar that is set free upon death. The human Faravahar, it is said, visits living members of its family every new year, hence all the preparations for the coming of spring.
Today, this image from antiquity continues to serve as a timeless symbol of national identity for contemporary Iranians.