By Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Traditionally, the bride brings to her new home a Ses gifted to her by her parents. She is bringing all these as part of her to the new household with sweetness, strength, love and to shed the light of knowledge.

“Ses” is the most prominent auspicious symbol among Parsis. It is a round metallic tray of varied shapes and sizes, present at all times in a Parsi house, especially on auspicious occasions. The Ses has a wonderful collection of auspicious items in it:

  1. Divo : Symbolises light – to dispel darkness and evil.

  2. Paro / Soparo : It is a conical metallic utensil in which patasha and/or rock sugar sakar is kept. 

  3. Pigani: It is a small metallic utensil  (wine glass shaped) with a lid in which Kanku (vermilion) is kept to put an auspicious red mark/tila on the forehead. The Parsis generally put a vertical mark on the forehead of a man and a round one on the forehead of the woman. The former signifies rays of the sun, the latter signifies the moon. Rice is placed on to the red mark to signify plenty.

  4. Gulabaz: It’s a metallic sprinkler-cum-container, which has rose water (Gulaab-jal) in it.

  5. Miscellaneous items: Coconut (a symbol of resourcefulness and Utility), betel leaves (paan), betel nut (sopari), almonds (badaam), dried dates (khaarak), rice, (symbolising fertility and productivity) curd and fish (fresh fish or sweet meat in the shape of a fish)(for good luck).  There can be water for purity; eggs – life-giving force; sugar crystals (khari saakar) -sweetness; rose petals – happiness; silver and gold coins – wealth and prosperity are also placed. A garland of fresh flowers is twisted around the ses.

When any good occasion or event comes up, I always bring out the “Ses” and polish it.  The Ses is then filled with Flowers, Sweets, Candle or a Oil Lamp (Divo), Eggs, Sopari nuts, Pan Leaf, Rice, Rose water, Fruits like CoconutDates (kharek),  Herbs (dry turmeric) and a good luck fertility symbolic fish (Silver or Gold Fish jewelry, Mava ni boi, sweet desserts made from marzipan  and Yogurt (Mitthu Dahi) .

The Parsi Ses is filled with symbolic food items which signify certain values:

  • Sweets (Sugar cubes, Desserts, Chocolates, etc)

  • Value: Sweet Nature and outlook

  • Candle or a Oil Lamp (Divo)

  • Value: Light of knowledge and wisdom

  • Eggs (Do not boil, eggs should be raw)

  • Value: Fertility

  • Sopari nuts 

  • Value: Reliable

  • Pan Leaf (Fresh leaf, if pan leaf is not found then use other fresh leaves)  

  • Value: Fresh and Pure

  • Rice (Dry white rice)

  • Value: Fertility

  • Rose water in the “Pigani”

  • Value: Sweet words

  • Fruits (CoconutDates (kharek)

  • Value: Fertility

  • Spices and Herbs (dry turmeric)

  • Value: Strength of character

  • Fish (Silver or Gold Fish jewelry or a traditional Mava ni boi sweet dessert ***

  • Value: Good Luck

  • Yogurt (Mitthu Dahi)  

  • Value: Good Luck

  • Red Kanku

  • Value: Good Blessings

Books available on Amazon Manna of the 21st Century: Parsi Cuisine Paperback Hardcover Indian Parsi Kitchen Celebrations: Celebrating Zoroastrian Festivals and Traditions Dhansak: Parsi Cuisine

1 Comment

Understanding Parsi Food & Customs in the light of Zoroastrian religion | Parsi Cuisine

Apr 4, 2014, 5:27 pm

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