Practitioners of the religion of Zoroastrianism, the Parsis are based in India. Their community is based on the Zoroaster Indo-European Aryan stock which around 2000 BC had divided into two great sections. One group spread west to settle in Europe. This is also called the Centum group by historians from the Latin word Centum ("a hundred"). The other group of Aryans moved east and further divided itself into two groups. This eastward bound group is called by historians the Shatem group from the Sanskrit Shatam for one hundred. Of these east bound Aryans, one group settled in what is now Iran and the other in the land we now call India.
After centuries of being based in India, the Parsis have a unique blending of the Zoroastrian religion with many of the Indian customs and attitudes. The language spoken is Gujarati and the women generally dress in the traditional Indian sari. A Zoroastrian baptismal ceremony (Nayjvot) sees the application of red ochre powder on the foreheads of the baptized, similar to the Hindu ceremony of Tilaka. The Parsi ritual invocation of the fire (Yasna) is also very similar to the Hindu ritual of Yagna. Parsis also wear a holy thread around their waist Kusti, again similar to the Hindu tradition of wearing a Yagnopavit. These and many other cultural similarities are the result of both communities coming from a common Indo-Aryan origin and also from the inevitable cultural exchanges that came from the Parsis being based in India for centuries.