Parsi New Year or Navroz is celebrated by the Parsi community across the world. Special food and desserts are prepared to celebrate the day.
Parsis descend from a group of Zoroastrians from Iran who immigrated to India during 10th century AD
Where is Parsi New Year observed?
When is Parsi New Year?
Parsi New Year is a regional holiday celebrated on August 17th in India.
It is also known as ‘Jamshedi Navroz’ after the legendary King of Persia, Jamshed who started the Parsi Calendar and Navroz meaning ‘new day’.
History of Parsi
Parsis follow the religion of Zoroastrianism, one of the oldest known monotheistic religions. It was founded by the Prophet Zarathustra in ancient Iran approximately 3,500 years ago.
It was one of the ancient world’s most important religions for over 1000 years and was the official religion of Persia (now Iran) from 650 BCE until the rise of Islam in the 7th century.
When the Islamic armies invaded Persia, many Zoroastrians migrated, to places such as Gujarat in India and Pakistan. Nowadays there are an estimated 2.6 million Zoroastrians worldwide, with the Parsis (‘Parsi’ being Gujarati for Persian) in India being the largest single group.
In Iran and other parts of the Middle East, Zoroastrians celebrated the Persian New Year using the Fasli/Bastnai calendar, which fixed the first day of the year on the Spring Equinox, usually March 21st. To this day, this remains a popular festival, known as Nowruz, celebrated by many peoples and cultures in the region, despite not being Zoroastrians.
The Parsis however, observe the new year using the Shahenshahi calendar which does not account for leap years, meaning this holiday has now moved by 200 days from its original day of the vernal equinox.
How is Parsi New Year celebrated?
Parsi New Year is celebrated in much the same way as Nowruz, with a focus on celebrating the renewal that a new year brings such as house cleaning, wearing new clothes, giving gifts and making charitable donations.
Description Of Parsi New Year
Jamshedi Navroj remarks the commencement of ‘New Year’ for Parsis in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Parsis are also called Zoroastrians. Zoroastrianism is one of the eldest renowned monotheistic classes established by Zoroaster. The word Navroj has been derived from two Persian words:
1. Nav, which means something new;
2. Roz, which means a day.
Why Is Parsi New Year Celebrated In July Or August In India?
The Parsis residing in India will follow the Shahenshahi calendar, which will not consider leap years. So, in India, Jamshedi Navroj is celebrated in July or August every year. The festival date will vary from year to year. The Parsis staying in the United States of America (USA), Pakistan and Middle-East also celebrate this festival usually in the month of March every year. The celebrations of this festival and Nowruz spring festival will remain the same.
Celebrations Of Parsi New Year
Parsis will wear new addresses and interchange sweets and festival wishes amid themselves. They make a visit to Agiary, which are also called fire temples. On this special day, milk, fruits, flowers, sandalwood, etc., are offered to the fire. Friends, relatives and families gather to celebrate the day. They prepare profligate feats and have a common festival meal. The Parsis staying in the city of Mumbai will take part in Gujarati plays. Several restaurants in this city will serve Parsi dishes such as farcha, egg pattice, mithu dahi, sali boti, jardaloo chicken, mithu dahi, berry pulav etc.
History of Parsi New Year
Also known as ‘Navroz’, Parsi New Year is celebrated to mark the beginning of the new Iranian calendar. In Persian, ‘Nav’ means new while ‘Roz’ stands for day hence ‘Navroz’ literally means ‘New Day’. The tradition of celebrating Parsi New Year begun over 3,000 years ago.
The celebration of Parsi New Year is linked to Zoroastrian religion, one of the oldest known monotheistic religion which was founded by Prophet Zarathustra in ancient Iran. It was the official religion of Persia, presently known as Iran until the rise of Islam in the 7th century. The day represents a yearly renewal of everything in the universe.
Best Mumbai Restaurants to Visit on Jamshedi Navroj
- San-Qi: This restaurant serves conventional Parsi meals.
- Pondicherry Cafe: This restaurant not only serves Parsi dishes but also exhibits the tradition of Parsis.
- Jimmy Boy: Jimmy Boy is one of the old restaurants in Mumbai offering Parsi dishes.
Best Places To Celebrate Jamshedi Navroj
Mumbai: Mumbai in India is the best destination to celebrate the festival of Jamshedi Navroj. The Parsis residing in the state of Gujarat may consider visiting this beautiful city, which is unique in terms of celebrations. The theatres spread across the city play a vital role. The following plays are being exhibited in various venues in Mumbai:
- Power Fool Couple: This play is performed at Nehru Centre.
- Wife WonderFool Pappa Powerful: This play is being performed at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
- Baba Ayo Courier Ma: This play is being exhibited at YB Chavan Auditorium.
- Bombay Bawa: Bombay Bawa is being played at Jamshed Bhabha Theatre.
Udvada: For Parsis, Udvada is a renowned pilgrimage spot. The distance between Mumbai and Udvada is just 200 km that can be travelled via train and road. The eldest and most divine fire temple in the globe, Atash Behram, is situated in Udvada. Globe Hotel and Ashishwan Hotel are the two best hotels to stay.
Navsari: Parsi can also consider visiting Navsari to celebrate the festival. It is 75 km away from Udvada. The distance can be travelled by road. The prime attraction of this place is the First Dastoor Meherji Rana Library, which offers a combination of well-protected scripts. Royal Regency and Deboo House Homestay are the best hotels to stay. Parsi dishes are served by local caterers in the town.
If you are in search of the best destination to spend quality time with your families and friends on the occasion of Parsi New Year 2022, consider the aforesaid places to visit.
PARSI NEW YEAR ACTIVITIES
- Visit AgiaryOn the day of Nowruz, the Parsis pay a visit to the ‘Agiary’ or commonly known as the fire temple. However, non-Parsis are not allowed. This is one of the most popular activities Parsi families do on August 16 to mark Nowruz.
- Clean your houseAs a symbolic day for new beginnings, there’s no better way to start anew than by cleaning your household. Grab this chance to do general cleaning in your house; you can wash clothes, sweep floors, and throw out unnecessary things.
- Feast on traditional cuisineWhat’s a festive new year without a delectable array of food? Start your year by cooking the most sumptuous Parsi cuisine. Make this day a bonding experience with your family in the kitchen. From egg pattice to Patra Ni Macchi, the list is endless!
5 FACTS ABOUT PARSI NEW YEAR
- It was originally celebrated on March 21The celebration on August 16 is based on the Shahensahi Calendar, which does not account for leap years.
- Parsis are a large groupThere are about 0.2 million Zoroastrians around the world today.
- The meaning of Nawruz The term ‘Navroz’ or ‘Nowruz’ is a combination of two Persian words: ‘nav’ for ‘new’ and ‘roz’ for ‘day.’
- Seven food delicaciesA part of their tradition is to serve food dishes that start with the sound of ‘sha’ or ‘sa’ symbolizing the creation of Earth in seven days.
- Fire is their GodOn this day, it’s a tradition for Parsis to keep a fire lit in a bowl of water to signify cleansing and bountiful wealth.
WHY WE LOVE PARSI NEW YEAR
- It keeps the religion aliveAccording to the census, there has been a decline in the Parsi population in India. Celebrating Parsi New Year helps keep this religion alive. It’s a good way to introduce Zoroastrianism to the coming generations.
- It’s a bonding event for families and friendsThe Parsi New Year is the day to meet and greet your friends and family over prayers and sumptuous food. It’s a day to catch up, unwind, and celebrate.
- We love new beginningsFollowing an eventful year of highs and lows, the best way to move forward is by celebrating a fresh start. Parsi New Year is the main event to mark new beginnings by letting go of the past and looking forward to the year ahead.