What is Parsi New Year?
Jamshed, a noted king in Persia was the first person to ever formulate the Persian calendar and though there have been modifications and revisions to the calendars currently in practise, the New Year of the Parsis is celebrated on the 17th of August.
The celebrations of the New Year begin with much pomp and show when Parsis clean their houses, decorate it well, get together with relatives to add to the touch of festivities, all family members buy new clothes and eat special delicacies on the special day.
The Parsis also believe hugely in charities and donations. They make a significant contribution to the society by donating funds on the special days of their new year.
The day is also popularly called as Jamshedi Navroz and is actually government holiday declared in Maharashtra state of India. It is the day when the Parsis welcome a new year with traditional fervor.
All auspicious celebrations will be carried out with utmost devotion and the Parsis are totally committed to welcoming the New Year in the most religious way possible.
Parsi New Year 2018 – 17th August
The 17th of August, 2018 which is a Friday will be celebrated as the Parsi New year this time. Though the Parsis originated from Iran, their presence can be seen in minor pockets in many parts of the world.
So, this day is celebrated as a secular celebration of New Year throughout India. But the Zoroastrians will be celebrating it as a very special and holy day marking the New Year or the season of spring.
The day will be religiously practiced by inviting things into their house which are meant to be new and look novel.
In fact the community will begin their celebrations much before the actual holiday, they do preparations in advance. The best part of the celebrations is the involvement of children into each of the activities. The Parsis are very particular about cleaning up their homes.
It is popularly known as the spring cleaning drive. Every nook and corner is made to look spic and span; everything remains ordered, clean and amicable in the house.
New furniture is brought to decorate the house well, new lights are lit up for brightening the house, and new clothes are worn to bring in a sense of new love pouring in. Thus, every small detail will be catered to and the house and the people tend to make and look everything new and fresh.
The day also involves placing seven significant items on a table to mark symbolic representations through objects, to keep up the religious practices of the festival:
- Sumac (a spice commonly used in cuisines in south Asian countries).
- Colored Eggs.
- Wheat pudding
The mirror is a symbolic representation of the past life. Sumac is to represent the importance of spices in our everyday life. Eggs are brightly colored and made attractive to indicate fertility.
Garlic represents good health and well being. Hyacinths are the best way to welcome the spring season. The pudding prepared out of wheat represents sweetness in life. Apples represent beauty and vinegar represents patience.
Families will get together to have a grand feast with their loved ones. They will take a day off from their work schedules. They will prepare special preparations as part of the celebrations that will include a soup by name Ash Reshteh.
This soup is prepared specially from noodles with the additions of whey, lentils, and onions and seasoned with a dash of spring onions. Rice items are also specially prepared along with soups. These rice items include Sabzi pollo, made of dill leaves, coriander and other natural herbs.
No meal is complete with sweetmeats at the end. Desserts are a must after a heavy day of feasting. Sweet almonds that are sugar coated, rice cookies and pastries are the other delicacies that will be prepared as part of the New Year celebration this year.
Parsi New Year Celebration
The faith in purity of souls makes them follow a high doctrine of principles, much different from other belief systems. Cleaning of house as part of New Year celebrations begins from few weeks before the actual New Year to welcome god to their house and seek his blessings.
Children and the elderly get to work and start cleaning their surroundings and the place they live in to create a holistic place for living. Parsi’s are known for their purity in thoughts. They are great givers to the society.
They believe in the essence of cleanliness and maintain clarity in their thinking and words. Apart from cleaning, the house members also mark the occasion of New Year with newly bought accessories to decorate and deck up the house.
New lighting arrangements are made to mark the special day and chalk out a path that would seem good for the next year to come. Light and purity go hand in hand when it comes to the basic ideas of decoration.
Along with decoration, wearing new clothes as a mark of leaving behind the old thoughts to make way for new light to come in, to set the whole ambience new is created by bringing in new clothes for the whole family.
Wearing new clothes, the entire family takes a day off from their work and sits together to enjoy special dishes prepared by the women of the house and have a nice time together.
The celebrations on the New Year for the Parsis are quite different. We have to understand this based on the diverse spread of the community across the world. The Parsis are not localized to the Indian subcontinent alone.
We can see their presence in many different regions of the world. In India, they are a minority community and they enjoy special status by the government of India.
Their religious importance, spiritual connections, celebrations etc are given due importance in our country.
Parsi New Year Wishes
Every year the Prime Minister of India and the President specially convey wishes to the Persian community of our country to wish them on their most auspicious day of the year. The Parsis have a lot of interest in education. They spread messages of love, bravery, wisdom, health and patience to the world.
The Parsi community is highly conscious about keeping their surroundings clean and tidy. They respect cleanliness and believe it can help a person grow and prosper to higher levels.
They believe in spiritual attainment. They give importance to rare words of wisdom, teach their children good values and on the New Year, the elders impart value education to their kids.
Kids are made to take part in all the chores at home. The tasks for the preparation of New Year celebrations involve children and make them share the tasks with elders. This way they are taught good values by giving them responsibilities.
The elders play a vital role in the New Year celebrations. They greet each other; they welcome their relatives’ home by sharing special wishes and greet them with beautiful words. Children and the elderly hold special place in all the festivities.
The New Year is incomplete without the community sending out special wishes and messages to their loved ones. Those who stay apart at distant places are made to feel part of the celebrations by calling them home.
Usually, it is customary for the people of this community to take leave a few days before the new year in order to get started to welcome the new day. Their preparations start from almost a week before and continue till the course of the special day.
Some of the common wishes amongst the people of this community are:
- May the festival of lights bring happiness and joy to everyone?
- May the glory of the king spread happiness, love and joy in all directions.
- Let the New Year begin with abundance of peace all over the world.
- Let us add sparkles of beauty to our inner souls to achieve contentment this New Year.
- May god bless everyone with abundant brightness and prosperity in their lives.
Importance and Significance of Parsi New Year
Parsis were descendants from the region of Iran, who followed the leader Zoroaster; hence they are also referred to as Zoroastrians. Parsi, in local dialect means, people who migrated from the Persian regions, so basically they came to be known as Parsis.
Although history has not exactly recorded when Parsis migrated to India, the reasons for their migration are quite familiar. Later, they got into other professions and started mixing with the people of India and became a well formed community here in India.
Hence, in India apart from the major religions in practise, we also have people belonging to the Parsi community, popularly called the Zoroastrians.
The Parsis initially entered India through the Gujarat border, but slowly they started moving to other places in India and apart from North India, they can also be found at Places in South India like Bangalore, Hyderabad etc. They worship the fire and their temple is popularly called the fire temple.
They do not belong to the Hindu community and do not follow any of the customary practices prevalent in the Hindu religion. Hence, their customary beliefs, faiths and traditions are very different from Hinduism.
Parsis do not believe in idol worship. The most important part of their worship is following the guidelines and principles of Zoroastrianism which stresses on human qualities, connection with god, going to the fire temples to worship god etc. Their religious practices lay a lot of importance on the purity of the mind.
A mind that is pure and serene is simply true to attract god’s blessings because it’s true to itself and also true to the world.
Whereas, a heart and mind that’s impure with thoughts that do not create any good for humanity is bound to bring about destruction, both to the self and to the rest of the world. So it’s very important to keep the mind in a pure and balanced state.
The Parsi New Year marks a new beginning in terms of love, respect and mutual understanding and brotherhood in the Parsi community and is therefore the most important day in their lives.