Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Surat Parsis celebrate Jamshedi Navroz

Dawn of their New Year and arrival of spring was celebrated with traditional fanfare by the 3,700-strong Parsi community of the city on Monday. Jamshedi Navroz is an age-old tradition followed by people of Iran and Parsis after migrating to the country to celebrate it every year.

"Jamshed was a great Iranian king and he began this tradition of a grand celebration welcoming spring and the dawn of New Year, which has been religiously followed for more than 1,000 years," said Mahrukh Chickar.

This day is celebrated at home by setting up a Navroz, a New Day table covered with white cloth as a sign of purity. On the table is placed a small bowl and a silver coin covered by red pomegranate seeds surrounding five to seven roses. There is a picture of Prophet Zarathushtra and a book of Avesta prayers and a mirror. The mirror reflects the Prophet`s photo and pomegranate. It is a belief among the Parsis that at an exact time of Vernal Equinox, the pomegranate moves and it is caught by the mirror.

This decorated table also has lit candle and seven eatable items beginning from `S` along with bowl of water with live fish in it. The seven items are Surmac (a spice), Sirka (vinegar), Samanu (halwa), a sib (apple), sir (garlic), senjed (berry of Sorb tree) and sabzi (herbs). Along with these sandlawood for perfume, wheat and other seeds for prosperity, flowers for colour and silver coin for wealth are placed.

To welcome spring, all types of dry and green fruits are placed with painted eggs for productivity and grains for abundance. Seven food items beginning from Sh in Persian like sharab (wine), shakar (sugar) shir (milk), shirini (sweetmeat), shirbeeranj (sweet), shira (syrup ) and shahad (honey ) are placed on the table.

When community visitors come home, lady of the house takes them to the table and religious ritual is performed and all eat from the same table sharing food items. More than 1,000 homes of Parsis in the city celebrated Navroz in this traditional style on Monday.