Nowruz fervour begins among followers of Zoroastrianism including Indian Parsis across the world
Nowruz – the Iranian or Persian New Year festival – is going to be celebrated worldwide by the Iranians and many other ethno-linguistic groups following Zoroastrianism settled in various countries including India from March 21 to 24.
Parsi community in India follows Zoroastrianism and celebrates Nowruz or Navroz with fervour and gaiety. The festival stands for as ‘New Day’ and marks the beginning of spring indicated by vernal equino to begin the New Year of the Persian calendar.
It is celebrated by performing certain rituals and organising festivities in Iran, Iraq, the Central Asian republics and Afghanistan with great fervour as one of the main festivals of the year.
Among the Parsi community in India, the festival is the time of remembrance and prayers at fire temples for happy and prosperous life. Before the March-end festival, Indian Parsis have started cleaning and decorating their houses with festival motifs, putting up rangoli on threshold of their houses and buying new clothes to be worn on the auspicious occasion of Navroz.
However, ten days prior to the festival, Parsi families start visiting fire temples for keeping a vase of flowers in a special prayer room in memory of departed souls of their family and ancestors and the ritual of changing flowers each day continues till the day of Navroz to pray and donate pieces of sandal wood to the temple, organize festivities and feasts.
The day is also marked by wearing new clothes family get-togethers, feasting, visiting relatives and friends, organising cultural events and exchanging gifts as a part of the festivities.
Here is my acrostic on NAVROZ to describe the spirit of the festival.
N: New Year occasion to rekindle the faith that
A: Ahura Mazda, Wise Lord or ‘Illuminating Wisdom’ is all good and nothing
V: Vile or no evil originates from Him and He will
R: Renovate the world to make it perfect
O: Once again as per
Z: Zoroastrianism that the Reality has no beginning and end – the Eternal, the Pure and the Truth.