Seven ways to celebrate Navroze
“Nav” (meaning new) + “roze”(meaning day) = “New Day”
The Zoroastrian Jamshedi Navroze / Nowruz / Nooruz is on March 21, 2017.
In the Fasli/Bastani variant of the Zoroastrian calendar, Navroz is always the day of the vernal equinox (normally falling on March 21). In the Shahenshahi and Kadmi calendars, which do not account for leap years, the New Year’s Day has drifted ahead by over 200 days. These latter two variants of the calendar, which are only followed by the Zoroastrians of Pakistan and India, celebrate the spring equinox as Jamshed-i Nouroz, with New Year’s Day then being celebrated in July–August as Pateti “(day) of penitence” (from patet “confession,” hence also repentance and penitence). The Parsi New Year is celebrated as Jamshed Navroz across the world by the entire Parsi community. The festival falls on the first day of the first month of the Fasli calendar, followed by the Parsis. This falls in the month of March according to the Gregorian calendar. As the day commences with the advent of spring or Vernal Equinox, Jamshed Navroz is celebrated with immense fun and fervor. All the Zoroastrians observe this festival by performing all the rituals and rites with full devotion and duty. A particular sect of Parsis resides in the western part of India and hence, Jamshed Navroz celebrations can be prominently noticed in these regions. Go through the following lines to know more about celebrating Jamshed Navroz in India.
Commemorated in a grand and elaborate fashion, preparations for Jamshedi Navroz begin well in advance. Houses are cleaned to remove all the cobwebs and painted new. They are then adorned with different auspicious symbols, namely, stars, butterflies, birds and fish. New attires are ordered and made especially for the festival. On the day of Jamshed Navroz, people dress in their new and best clothes and put on gold and silver kustis and caps. The doors and windows are beautified with garlands of roses and jasmines. Color powders are used for creating beautiful and attractive patterns, known as rangoli, on the steps and thresholds. These intricate and creative patterns display the sanctity of the festivals. Moreover, fish and floral motifs are a favorite among rangolis and considered highly auspicious.
Guests are welcomed by sprinkling rose water and rice, followed by applying a tilak. Breakfast usually consists of Sev (a vermicelli preparation roasted in ghee and choc-a-bloc with dry fruits) which is served with yogurt and enjoyed by young and old alike. After breakfast, it is time to visit the Agiary or Fire Temple to offer prayers. Special thanksgiving prayers, known as Jashan, are held and sandalwood is offered to the Holy Fire. At the end of this religious ceremony, all Parsis take the privilege to exchange new greetings with one another by saying ‘Sal Mubarak’. Back home, special delicacies are made marking the lunch as an elaborate and delicious affair.
Various Parsi dishes, such as Sali boti (a mutton and potato preparation), chicken farchas, patrani machchi (fish steamed in a leaf), mutton pulao and dal, kid gosh and sasni machchi (a thick white gravy with pomfret) jostle for space on the table. However, the most significant dish that forms an integral part of Jamshed Navroz celebrations is pulav (rice enriched with nuts and saffron). Besides, plain rice and moong dal are a must on this day. Desserts too are not behind in terms of variety, the most important being falooda. It is a sweet milk drink made from vermicelli and flavored with rose essence. Lagan-nu-custard, or caramel custard, is another favorite on this occasion. The entire day is spent by visiting friends and relative and exchanging good wishes and blessings.
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Suggested Menu for the Navroz day: