The Parsi New Year, also referred to as Navroz or Nowruz, is a joyous occasion celebrated between July and August, this year Parsi New Year marked on 16th August. Rooted in the Persian words ‘Nav and ‘Roz’, which means ‘new day’, this cherished festival has a rich history spanning over 3,000 years.
Origin of Parsi New Year
While the global celebration of Navroz aligns with the Spring Equinox on March 21, the Parsi community in India follows the Shahenshahi calendar. This unique calendar doesn’t consider leap years, resulting in a shift of celebration by 200 days from the original date.
History and Cultural Significance
The festival roots are linked to Zorostrianism, which is among the world’s oldest beliefs in one god. It started more than 3,500 years ago in ancient Iran when a wise person named Prophet Zarathustra shared this faith. The happiness of Zorostrianism lasted until 1,400 years ago when a religion called Islam started spreading in the 7th century. Because of this change, many Zorostrianism left their homes in Iran and went to India and Pakistan. In these new places, a group called Parsis formed and found safety.
The celebration’s origin story harks back to the legendary king Jamshed, who saved the world from a catastrophic winter that threatened annihilation.
Celebration of Parsi New Year
The most sizeable Parsi community in India belongs in the state of Maharashtra and Gujarat, making Parsis the largest single group in India.
On this day, people pray for good health and prosperity, spending their day cleaning their homes and adorning them with flowers and rangolis. They don traditional attire and visit the fire temple, also known as the ‘Agiary’, where they offer milk, flowers, fruits and sandalwood to the sacred fire.
The festivities revolve around the Four Fs- fire, fragrance, food and friendship. The occasion involves indulging in delectable Parsi cuisine, seeking forgiveness for the past year’s transgressions, mental purification and embarking on the new year with love and harmony.
Parsis cook delicacies like Prawn Patio, Mori Dar, Patra Ni Macchi, Haleem, Akoori, Sali Boti, Saffron Pulao and Falooda for a full feast. Parsis make their tables special by decorating it or putting different things like a sacred book, a mirror, nice-smelling sticks, fruits, pretty flowers, shiny coins, candles, a bowl with a goldfish and a picture of Zarathustra.