Written by Naina Singh, a grade 6 student.
Yesterday was The Parsi New Year, which is called ‘Navroz’ (or ‘Nowruz’). It means a New Day.
This day marks the beginning of a New Year for the Parsi community. In Persian ‘Nav’ means new, and ‘Roz’ means day.
Who are the Parsis?
Parsis are followers of the Iranian prophet Zoroaster or Zarathustra. They descended from Persian Zoroastrians who took refuge in India to avoid religious persecution by the Muslims.
What is Zoroastrianism?
It’s an ancient Persian religion said to have originated some 4,000 years ago. It is also said to be the world’s first monotheistic faith. Monotheism is the belief in one god. Zoroastrianism was the main religion of the Persian dynasties, till the Muslims conquered of Persia in the seventh century A.D. This is when the Zoroastrian refugees, called Parsis, escaped Muslim persecution in Iran and came to India.
The exact time of their arrival into India is not known, but is said to be around the 8th to 10th century. They first settled first in Gujarat, and remained here for about 800 years as a small agricultural community. However, by the 19th century, they had become a wealthy community, and were successful in areas like heavy industries, mainly those connected with railways and shipbuilding.
Here are a some rituals of Navroz
- Friends and family gather and celebrate the day together.
- They wear new clothes, exchange gifts and eat big meals
- Families visit the fire temple
- Children get money from their elders.
- For luck and prosperity, people keep a lamp in their homes.
- Some other objects they keep are:
- A fish in a bowl filled with water
- An earthenware plate that has sprouted beans or wheat.
- Sweets with rosewater sprinkled in water bowls.
- Painted eggs (that symbolize productivity)
- Food includes
- Dhan Dar Dar Patio (a simple yellow dal)
- Ravo (a milk-based dessert)
- Sweet Sev, Mitthoo dahi, Doodh Pak, Prawn Patio, Patra ni Macchi, Farcha etc
- One of the main customs is the distribution of Mawa Ni Boi (mawa sweet moulded into a fish).
- Fish is a symbol of good luck and prosperity
For the Parsis, the number seven is seen as very lucky. On Navroz, a table is set up that includes seven symbolic elements – Sabzeh, Senjed, Samanu, Sir, Serkejh, Sib and Sumac.