Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

From Candles To Turkeys – How Zoroastrians Celebrate Thanksgiving In Style In Karachi

Karachi has always gone out of its way to pay respects to its Zoroastrian community. We have been blessed with a home here, given opportunities to self-actualize and to nurture our future generations in a safe and compassionate environment. We have been blessed in abundance and it is with this full heart that we celebrated thanksgiving this year with a formal dinner on December 1 at the Karachi Parsi Institute (KPI) in Saddar.

Article by Dilaira Dubash | Hungriest

Zoroastrians have thrived for years in the cosmopolitan heart of this brave city. KPI is where we bond, unwind and serve in the spirit of community. It’s where we first fall in love with sports, where we celebrate togetherness, where we acknowledge accomplishments and honor those among us who have selflessly served this community and our city. It’s where we play our beloved bingo and get our weekly supply of batasas (tea time biscuits). The community center defines us and therefore served as the ideal backdrop for the night’s festivities.

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Source: Tiraz Umrigar

Thanksgiving in Karachi?

Thanksgiving may come across as a very American holiday, but the harvest festival is celebrated around the world in variety of ways by a number of different cultures. The ceremony to give thanks for successful harvests dates back to the 1621 harvest feast shared by the native people of North America which included turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries and pumpkin pie.

The occasion aligns perfectly with Zoroastrian beliefs and traditions as well. Honoring a bountiful harvest has always been an inherent part of Zoroastrian tradition and the setting of the Navroze table each year in March is a reflection of that. The festivity commemorates the spring equinox, the rebirth and renewal of the earth that follows.

Appropriately adorned for the evening, KPI welcomed its family in the warm glow of fairy lights, delicately hanging from trees and draped on hedges by the pool. As a first course, diners were served with a visual feast of traditional thanksgiving décor. Tall glass jars filled with oranges illuminated by fairy lights, platters of acorn and plump turkey crafts sat atop round tables dressed in clean, white tablecloths. Music filled the air which was soon drowned by laughter as more families arrived to be part of the celebration.

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Source: Pooya Dubash

In accordance with the evening’s importance, the feast was carefully curated and prepared. For starters, each table was served a platter of silky-smooth chicken liver pate with thinly sliced toasted, white bread and a bowl of chips for children to nibble on. This was followed by a grand buffet of beautifully arranged turkey nestled in a bed of stuffing, placed next to bowls of gravy and cranberry sauce, trays of fluffy white bread rolls to soak up the juices, creamy eggs Florentine for additional flavor and roasted seasonal vegetables to provide a parade of color  on the table. There was also a serving of classic potato salad dressed with mayonnaise.

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Source: Pooya Dubash

The simply seasoned, roasted bird was a standout and the accompanying flavors and textures only served to enhance the main dish. The meal ended on an equally grand note as diners were treated to wholesome apple pie topped with a choice of custard or vanilla ice cream and steamed pudding with warm ginger sauce. The food was the highlight of the evening which is what thanksgiving is really all about.

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Source: Pooya Dubash

The evening was planned with precision. There was focus on detail which showed the effort that was put into making the evening memorable. Everyone was handed sweet giveaways in painstakingly decorated small, jute pouches. Zoroastrians are big on small gestures and we are taught very early not to take the little things in life for granted.

It is in the same spirit that we like to thank our city for bringing our community peace and prosperity.