The enduring legacy of Zoroastrianism: Parsi community gathers to celebrate Nowruz
Who would have thought that anyone could get a comprehensive taste of Zoroastrian culture in one day, in Melbourne? Food, song and dance performances, a history documentary, a cultural exhibition and, possibly, the entire Zoroastrian community in Victoria, were all on offer at Kingston City Hall in Moorabbin!
The Zoroastrian Association of Victoria (ZAV) showcased all that it had to the Victorian community on Sunday 28 August. With close to 500 people in attendance, the Zoroastrian community was proud to present and explain its ancient culture and religion that dates back some 3,500 years.
What was special about this occasion was the timing. Zoroastrians recently celebrated their Parsi New Year celebrations, Nowruz, the week before. The event also coincided with Khordad Sal, the birthday of our Prophet Zarathushtra (the founder of Zoroastrianism).
“We had a vision to showcase our community to Victoria and encourage the public to discover who we are, what we stand for and what place we take in history,” said the President of the ZAV, Kazween Boiko. Along with the ZAV committee, and the community at large, we were able to put on a fantastic and uplifting display.
Those who attended the event had the opportunity to browse items in a mini-exhibition consisting of religious and cultural artefacts, traditional clothing, books, informative posters and models, and ceremonial displays. Our local community, with the assistance from their relations back in India and Iran, sourced various items to provide visitors with a broad appreciation of our heritage.
There were also performances by the Shiamak Davar Dance Academy. The dance troupe combined traditional and modern routines to entertain the crowd of all ages. In addition, a singer, saxophonist and dancer represented the Australian Persian Arts Centre and presented traditional acts.
Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs Inga Peulich was impressed with the informative documentary ‘Zoroastrianism – An Enduring Legacy’. She noted it was “the best presentation” she had ever seen at any community group function that she had attended. She explained that this documentary is clearly the product of the Zoroastrians who are known for being entrepreneurial, resourceful and helpful.
Although the Zoroastrian community is very small, and shrinking, we are vibrant, diverse in our occupations and have contributed greatly to society over many centuries. The community is proud of its heritage. “Our community is going to hold more events in the future and continue to integrate with fellow Victorians in this wonderful multicultural society,” Kazween Boiko declared.
One attendee at the event was thrilled to learn about Zoroastrian culture and was impressed with the seven-course meal, lagan nu patra (traditional celebration feast severed on a banana leaf). Our resident community chef, Sarosh Khariwala, worked tirelessly prior to the event to prepare all the food with the help of the Parsiana Kitchen group from Perth. Famous dishes included dhanshak dal, tokri paneer, patra ni machi and sali margi.
Zoroastrians are determined to keep their culture alive and make other people more aware of the fundamental role Zoroastrians have played in shaping modern civilisation. The community appreciates the support it receives from government bodies and organisations and the ZAV would like to thank Vasan Srinivasan (Australian Multicultural Council Member), Mayor Tamsin Bearsley (City of Kingston) and Graham Watt (Victorian member for Burwood) for attending the event and meeting the community.
Keep an eye on the ZAV’s Facebook page to stay up-to-date with upcoming events.