A religious headwear battle involving a provincial drivers licensing bureau and a belief system worshiping a flying spaghetti monster hit a boiling point this week in British Columbia.

Pastafarian Obi Canuel, an ordained minister in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, said he was being denied his religious rights when he was told that he couldn’t wear a spaghetti strainer on his head in his driver’s licence photo. The insurance agency disagreed, and said the 36-year-old would not be issued a new photo until he went accessory-free.

Related: 'Pastafarian' fights to wear colander in ID photo

While this is the first instance of a Pastafarian fighting to wear a spaghetti strainer in an ID photo in British Columbia, it’s a battle that’s simmered – and been won – by devotees of the non-conformist religion across the globe.

Currently, four countries – the United States, Czech Republic, Austria and New Zealand – allow Pastafarians to wear colanders as headgear for government-issued photo identification. In fact, church member Christopher Schaeffer was sworn into office wearing the cooking item during his inauguration as an elected town official in New York State earlier this year.

Here’s a guide to Pastafarianism, what’s described by some as the world’s fastest-growing carbohydrate-based religion.

How it started

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was started in 2005 by a young U.S. physics graduate as a means to criticize creationism being taught in public schools.

Bobby Henderson, then 24, wrote in an open letter to the Kansas board of education that the notion of a supernatural creator that looks like spaghetti and meatballs who “touches people with his Noodly Appendage” is just as valid as intelligent design being taught to children during science class.

Henderson said the creature “boiled for our sins.”

Pastafarianism soon gained worldwide attention, praise and notoriety as it became a symbol against intelligent design used in the public education system.

Giant spaghetti monster: Beliefs

Followers of the church say they worship a giant spaghetti monster that formed the earth roughly 4,000 years ago.  The monster is invisible and undetectable and was said to be "heavily drinking" during earth's creation, which explains the weirder-looking flora and fauna.

Many of the aspects and tenets of the religion satirize the beliefs of creationism and organized religion, but the church insists it isn’t poking fun at organized religion.

“We are not anti-religion. We are anti-crazy nonsense done in the name of religion. There is a big difference. Our ideal is to scrutinize ideas and actions but ignore general labels,” a message on the church’s website reads.

Holidays and traditions

While there are no rituals, prayers or strict regulations involved in Pastafarianism, there are some generally-held notions: being fond of beer, not taking yourself too seriously, and celebrating every Friday as a holiday.

Instead of Passover and Ramadan, worshipers celebrate Pastaover and Ramendan, which involve eating loads of pasta, preferably spaghetti, and ramen noodles.

According to the church, heaven involves a volcano that spews beer – and a stripper factor. In Pastafarian hell, the beer is stale and watered down, and the strippers are suffering from sexually transmitted diseases.

At the end of devotions, worshipers will say “Ramen” – referring to the instant noodle – instead of “Amen.”

The church has an online store selling tshirts, stickers, posters and mugs depicting its spaghetti deity starting at $5.99.

You can be ordained online as a minister in the church for $30.