Parsi New Year 2021: Here is what you need to know about the two dates, history, significance and celebrations of Navroz or Nowroz in India.
To mark the beginning of the Iranian calendar, the festival of Navroz or Nowroz is celebrated by the Parsi community around the world with great pomp and ceremony. In Persian, ‘Nav’ is new but ‘Rose’ literally means ‘new day’, and Iranians and Zoroastrians are believed to have been following this tradition of celebrating the Parsi New Year for the past 3,000 years.
Although celebrated worldwide in March, Navroz arrives in India 200 days later and is celebrated in August, where the Parsis follow the Shaheen Shahi calendar, which does not take into account leap years. Interestingly in India, people celebrate it twice a year – the first according to the Iranian calendar and the second according to the Shaheen Shahi calendar here and in Pakistan.
The festival falls between July and August. This year, Nroz is celebrated on August 16 in India.
History and Significance:
Navroz or Jamshed-i-Navarroz / Jamshed-i-Nauroz is named after the Persian king Jamshed, who created the Persian or Shahenshahi calendar. According to legend, Jamshed saved the world from an apocalypse that came in the form of winter and was intended to kill everyone.
King Jamshed used a throne full of precious gems and ascended to heaven on the shoulders of demons, where he shone brighter than the sun and hence the new day was born, named Navroz.
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The most popular Navroz celebrations are held in Maharashtra and Gujarat in India due to the significant Parsi population living in the two states. Today people pray for good health and well-being because they cleanse their homes and hearts of unwanted objects and thoughts.
The Parsis dress up in their traditional attire and decorate their houses with lights and rangoli to prepare delicious fare. They entertain guests in their homes and even go to visit their loved ones.
Delicious dishes like prawn patio, Mori dar, Patra ni Macchi, Halim, Akuri, Faluda, Ambakalya, dhansak, Rao, sally Boti, saffron pulao have been whipped into Navarrose spread in Parsi kitchens. The Parsis also visit the Ajiri or Fire Temple and offer fruits, sandalwood, milk, and flowers to the fire on this auspicious day.
Although it may be a little difficult to stay away from your friends and family this year due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, hopefully staying safe and healthy is enough to spread the holiday spirit.