Jamshed-e-Navroz or Parsi New Year is a festival celebrated by Zoroastrian community. Navroz will be celebrated on March 20 (Friday) in 2020.
Navroz (Persian New Year)
When: March 20, 2020
Jamshed-e-Navroz - Navroz or Nowruz or Parsi New Year has its origins in the Iranian and Indian tradition of celebrating the season of regeneration. 'Nav' means ‘new’ and ‘roz’ means ‘day’. The pastoral element is apparent in this festival. The day corresponds to equinox and is celebrated on 21st March. Jamshed-e-Navroz is a festival celebrated by Parsis all round the world. Jamshed-e-Navroz as it is named marks the first day in the Zoroastrian year. A second Nowruz occurs in July/August which is celebrated after the last day of the year, following a ‘Muktad’ period dedicated to remembering the dead. Jamshed-e-Navroz symbolizes warmth, friendship and happiness.
Such is the secular nature of this festival and such is the universality of meaning that in the year 2010, March 21 was recognized by the UN's General Assembly as the International Day of Nowruz, so that people can promote peace based on shared values. This festival witnesses major celebration in Iran, Caucasus, Central Asia and South-East Asia. Sufi Muslims, Bektashis, Ismailis and followers of the Bahá'í faith also observe this day.
Jamshed-e-Navroz is an old established tradition, and goes 3000 years back. King Jamshed’s exploits as the most charismatic Pishdadian ruler are extolled in Zoroastrian scripture such as Vendidad 2, where the figure appears as ‘Yima-Kshaeta’. King Jamshid is credited with bringing to the world practical knowledge in the field of sciences, arts and crafts, medicine, wine and agriculture. With his reign began the tradition of ‘Nowruz’. Zoroastrian sacred texts expound the importance of this day.
Rituals and traditions of Navroz celebration
Jamshed-e-Navroz is a day when the camaraderie between people from the community is very strong. On this day, people greet each other outside the Agiary temple after the ritualistic prayers.
As grand as its legends and history, Navroz is a grand celebration that Parsis plan for and look forward to every year. Households engage in cleaning and indulge in elaborate preparation including floral decoration. Patterns that comprise symbolic figures and motifs such as the fish are made on the threshold of houses for luck and prosperity.
Parsis don new clothes, kustis and caps on this day. Houses are decked up with lights and interesting decoration. On this day, a whiff of rosewater lends an ethereal touch to the celebration. The burning of incense sticks lends sacredness to the whole atmosphere as guests are welcomed. The most important ritual involves a visit to the Fire Temple or Agiary of the city for a prayer ceremony called 'Jashan'. Fire is the most important symbol for Parsis. People then greet each other with the customary 'Sal Mubarak'.
The observance of Parsi New Year is very much centred around food, which includes a lavish spread of their most sumptuous delicacies known for their distinctive taste. For breakfast, ‘Falooda’ prepared in milk and flavored with rose water and ‘Ravo’ made with ‘suji’ and milk is served.
The Navroz lunch menu consists of rich gastronomic delights that all savour and partake of. In a way, the festival is a great leveler of sorts as all the classes rejoice in the celebration. Some of the practices to bring in luck and prosperity include keeping an illuminated lamp, fish in a bowl of water, a silver coin, an earthenware plate with sprouted wheat or beans, painted eggs (for productivity), and sweets and rosewater in bowls (for sweetness in relationships) are kept on a table.
Seven is a revered number for the Zoroastrians as they signify seven elemental forces of earthly life. In what is also seen as an effort to align all the planetary motions seven specific tems called ‘Haft Sin’ their names beginning with ‘sh’ and ‘s’ must be placed on the table. They are seeb (apple - beauty), senjid (dried fruit of lotus tree – love) somagh (sumac berries - good over evil), sir (garlic clove - health ), serka (vinegar-patience), sabzeh (wheat, barley or lentil - rebirth) and samanu (a sweet creamy paste - wealth). A minted coin is also kept representing prosperity. A typical Parsi lunch or dinner will remain incomplete without Salli Murghi/Salli Gosh, Sali boti, Farchas, Steamed pomfret, Mutton or Chicken Pulav with nuts or berries, Dhansak and accompaniments like ‘saaria’ followed by a sweet dish such as caramel custard.