is the New Year's day for the Parsi community in India and is
celebrated on the 21st of March, on which falls the vernal equinox of
the sun and the season of spring commences. It is the beginning of the
period when all the trees are in full bloom and wear the look of
greenery. It heralds the advent of spring, bright sunshine thus
bidding farewell to the cold season..
did it come about?
3000 years ago Shah Jamshed of the Peshadian dynasty ascended the
throne on "NAVROZE" - nav meaning new and roze meaning day.
It was the day of the Equinox - a day when light and darkness stand
equal on the scale of space and time when the length of the day equals
that of the night. That particular day came to be known as Jamshed
Navroz and is celebrated even in modern times with lot of feasting.
The Parsis follow the Falsi
calendar. This celebration goes back to the time of the King of
ancient Persia, Jamshed, who introduced the solar calendar and is also
believed to have first made wine.
it is celebrated by the Parsis who wear new clothes and visit the
fire-temples making offerings of sandalwood.
quite westernized in their life styles, Parsis are traditionally rigid
in thoughts. So they observe all the rituals, prayers and modes of
greetings as laid down in their religion for celebrating NAVROZ which
is their New year. The New
is said that Jamshed was a great king and cared for the welfare of his
subjects. Though there were no clocks to measure time, the King sought
the help of the great astronomers and mathematicians of his day who
devised a calendar which was known as the "Tacquim-e-Nowrooze-e-Sheheriyari".
The King accordingly decided that Navroze or the New Year would start
on the Vernal Equinox when night and day were of equal durations.
Parsi community fled from Persia 1200 years ago and migrated to India
to escape Muslim and Arab persecution. They settled down on the
Western coast of India mainly Gujarat and Bombay.
Parsis are divided into three sects - the Faslis, the Kadims and the
Sehensahis. Of these, the Faslis observe Navroze (Jamshedi Navroze) as
the only New Year proclaimed by King Jamshedi, on the first day of the
Spring. The other two sects observe two new years, one being Jamshedi
Navroze and the other being the anniversary of the day they landed in
India. Some customs have changed having mingled with the locals but
their tradition still remains.
to celebrate the Parsi New Year?
a clip from ANI -
women and even children wake up early, bath and dress up in new
clothes. They decorate the threshold and steps of their houses with
rangoli, light incense sticks and sprinkle sandalwood powder on live
coals, kept in a censor. All this not only is auspicious but also is
meant to purify the air.
plays a very important role as a significant part of all Parsi
festivals. Parsi food is a delicious blend of West Indian and Indian
cuisine. Parsis being non-vegetarian, fish, mutton, chicken, nuts,
spices and fruits are bought a day before and a variety of dishes are
prepared for the following day of Navroz.
New Year - Festival Foods
breakfast on the day of Navroz two special dishes are served.
"Ravo" made with Suji, milk and sugar and the other is
fried vermicelli cooked in sugar syrup and sprinkled with raisins and
lot of almond slivers.
Heat butter or
ghee and add semolina. Cook, stirring, till the semolina is
slightly pale gold in color. Add sugar and milk and keep stirring till
mixture thickens. Pour into a shallow dish or pie plate and allow to
cool and set. Sprinkle with powdered cardamom and nutmeg, raisins and
almonds and serve.
- 2 tablespoons
melted butter or ghee
tablespoons semolina (sooji)
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon
- 1/4 teaspoon
mixed cardamom and nutmeg powder.
- 15 almonds,
blanched and finely sliced.
breakfast all the family members go to the nearest Fire Temple or
Agiary as it is called. In the temple a "JASHAN" - a thanks
giving prayer is performed by the priest and each one of the assembled
gathering offers sandalwood to the Holy Fire. As per the Parsi custom
everyone has to cover their heads while praying inside the temple.
Children put on caps of gold or silver brocade, men put on black
velvet caps and the women pull their sari pallus over their heads.
After the "Jashan" ceremony all people greet each other by
saying "Sal Mubarak".
consists of Pulav, rich with nuts and saffron, fish in green masala,
dhanshaak and spicy chicken curries. In Parsi community besides all the
delicacies, cooking plain rice and moong dal is a "must" on
this Navroz day. Food packets and clothes are handed over to the poor
Parsi families by the children of the family. Parsi children are thus
taught to give and share with others.
the day on this festival of Navroz, there is much visiting of friends
and relatives. Every visitor is offered some sweet and a glass of
"falooda" - a sweet and chilled vermicelli and flavored with
rose essence. In all Parsi homes a silver tray is kept ready with
roses, coconuts and kumkum for `tilak'. Rose water is freely sprayed
on every visitor as he enters.
is the time of
rituals, prayers, greetings, exchanging, gifts, decorating and
beautifying the houses.