Navroze: A great time to bond

Zoroastrians are looking forward to celebrate Navroze with their loved ones tomorrow..

Oh yeah, the preparations have begun. At the Kajanwalla household in Grant Road, it’s just finishing touches to the festive preprarations that are being given. The house is spick and span, new clothes hung up all ready to be worn, the aroma of the food wafts across the kitchen and yonder.
Farina Kajanwalla, a designer is barely able to conceal her excitement as she squeals, “I usually celebrate by going out for a movie with my family.

Also lunch and dinner has to be a sumptuous spread so we tend to go to a good restaurant. The cuisine doesn’t necessarily have to be Parsi. I drop in at my granny’s where I love snacking on different food which she dishes out.” And she adds even more excitedly, “Ah yes, new clothes are a must!”
Come the morrow and Zoroastrians all over will celebrate Jamshedi Navroze. Preparations for the D-day begin a couple of days in advance with the cleaning of the entire house, and new clothes are bought for each member of the family. On Navroze vibrant ‘torans’ adorn doors and colourful ‘rangoli’ is designed at the doorstep.

Food, ah yes, food… is, of course, a vital part of the festivities. ‘Rava’ is cooked with milk and sugar and sev is cooked in sugar syrup and with almonds and raisins tossed in for good measure. Breakfast done, families visit the agiary where a thanksgiving prayer (Jashan) is offered and sandalwood is offered to the Holy Fire.

Bank employee Kersi Irani says, “We will be setting the table near midnight today. It’s been a family tradition for as long as I can remember. My wife and I will visit the agiary in the morning and then visit some relatives. Since both my children are out of the country, celebrations will be slightly subdued. We have not yet made any plans to go out.”

For Zoroastrians, Navroze is celebrated with great pomp and festivity. Sing-song melodious voices chime and trill across as greetings of `Sal Mubarak’ are heard in households and fire temples. The day is entirely dedicated to family and friends by Parsees and Iranians. Visitors are served sweets and offered chilled glasses of Falooda, flavoured with rose and vanilla essence. For lunch, there’s delicious pulao, traditionally rich flavoured patrani macchi, sali boti, chicken curry rice replete with ice cream.

After lunch, it’s time for a quick siesta. The youthfulness of the day springs back once again as evening sets in. Dressed in their finery, it’s time to catch a movie, a play or cultural functions organised at different ‘baugs’. Needless to mention that it involves a lot of song and dance, drinking and eating lagan nu bhonu.

How much of a significance does the festival have for young Zoroastrians today? Ask engineer Zubin Tafti who is as enthusiastic about the day as any other Parsi twice his age. “Navroze is the perfect time to watch plays. I meet my family members, go to the agiary and eat a lot of paneer, naan and pudina! I also like sprinkling rose water on my family. Basically it’s a great time to bond,” says Zubin. Not many in the community would disagree!

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