Yesterday was Navroze, the 2,500 year-old festival of…


March 24, 2006

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Culture | Events

Yesterday was Navroze, the 2,500 year-old festival of the vernal equinox that a wide swathe of Asia celebrates. The two gentle communities from Iran who are part of us naturally celebrated it: Parsis and Baha’is.

If you look, there are powerful messages coming from the calendar. This year, Easter and Eid-ul-Milad-un-Nabi, the Prophet’s birthday, are both expected on April 16, which is also Baisakhi. Months later, Diwali and Eid-ul-Fitr are to happen the same week. What the coming together of everyone’s big festivals suggests is: please celebrate together. Be happy, live in peace.

A charming moment from last year comes to mind, when Navratri and Ramzan overlapped. A dear friend from Mumbai, holed up in a Delhi fivestar hotel for a conference, asked me to sneak her out in the evening to eat chaat. There was a halwai nearby in a place called Sundar Nagar so off we went, glad to have escaped a crawl elsewhere through rush hour traffic. When we got there, we found that many Muslim families had zipped down from the Walled City, which wasn’t far, to break their fast at that halwai’s. So, there we were happily jostling together for golgappa, chaat and tikki. A firang and his son wandered by staring openly and finally accosted us. “Please could you tell us what everyone is eating with so much joy?” “Excuse said the father. We left them essaying the chaat, but what I remember is how sweetly the burqa ladies smiled at us. Clash of civilisations? God, no.

Original article here