Marking the beginning of the Iranian calendar, the festival of Navroz or Nowroz is celebrated by Parsi community around the world with great pomp and show. In Persian, ‘Nav’ stands for new while ‘Roz’ means ‘day’ which literally translates to ‘new day’ and this tradition of celebrating Parsi New Year is believed to be observed by Iranians and Zorastian for the past 3,000 years. Date:
Though celebrated in March globally, Navroz arrives 200 days later in India and is celebrated in the month of August as the Parsis here follow the Shahenshahi calendar that doesn’t account for leap years. Interestingly in India, people celebrate it twice a year – first according to the Iranian calendar and the second according to the Shahenshahi calendar which is followed by people here and in Pakistan.
The festival falls between July and August. This year, Navroz is being celebrated in India on August 16.
History and significance:
The festival of Navroz or Jamshed-l Navroz/Jamshed-i-Nouroz is named after the Persian king, Jamshed, who is credited for creating the Persian or the Shahenshahi calendar. As per the legend, Jamshed saved the world from an apocalypse that came in the form of a winter
and destined to kill everyone. King Jamshed used a throne studded with precious gems and rose to the heavens on the shoulders of demons where he shone brighter than the sun and hence a new day was born which was named as Navroz. Celebrations:
The most prominent Navroz celebrations take place in Maharashtra and Gujarat in India on account of a sizeable Parsi population living in the two states. On this day people pray for good health and prosperity as they spend the day cleaning out their homes and hearts of unnecessary items and thoughts.
The Parsis dress up in their traditional attire, decorate their homes with lights and rangoli and prepare delicious fare. They entertain guests in their homes and also go to visit their dear ones. Delicacies like Prawn Patio, Mori Dar, Patra Ni Macchi, Haleem, Akoori, Falooda, Ambakalya, Dhansak, Ravo, Sali Boti, Saffrom Pulao are whipped up in Parsi kitchens for the Navroz spread. Parsis also visit the Agiary or the Fire Temple and offer fruits, sandalwood, milk and flowers to the fire on this auspicious day. Although it might be a bit difficult to have to stay away from your friends and family this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the fact that hopefully everyone is safe and healthy is enough to spread the holiday cheer.