Parsi New Year

India is a land of many cultures and religions. Cultural diversity is what makes this great country a beautiful place to celebrate. With people of many religions and faith making India their home, it is truly a melting pot of many cultures. The festivities in India never end. Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christians, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists, and more live in complete harmony and participate in each other’s festivals.

Parsi New Year or the ‘Navroz’ marks the beginning of the Iranian calendar. The tradition of Navroz was started by the Persian King Jamshedi Nouroz around 3000 - 3500 years ago by including solar calculations in the Persian calendar. It is followed by the Parsi community all over the world ever since.

‘Pateti’ comes from the word ‘patet’ or the repentance. Pateti festival is observed a day ahead of Navroz as an occasion for repentance of one's sins and letting go of the past to welcome the new year with new hopes and aspirations. ‘Nav’ means new, and ‘Roz’ means day in the Persian language. Navroz stands for a ‘new day’ to celebrate the spirit of love, positivity, and peace.

Significance of Parsi New Year

As per the legend, humanity was about to be wiped out with harsh winters. The world was on the verge of an apocalypse and ice age. Legendary King Jamshed Nouroz sat on his throne studded with precious gems and ascended to the heavens on the shoulders of the demons. He shone brighter than the sun. This resulted in the renewal of the Universe. The new day is celebrated as Navroz.

Preparations and Celebrations

Parsi New Year is about renewing the spirit of patience and kindness, to celebrate and feast, to forgive and thank, to cleanse oneself of the past deeds and thoughts and repent the sins and mistakes committed knowingly or unknowingly. There is a thorough cleaning of the home and workplace. All the unwanted possessions and belongings are discarded. Houses are adorned with bright lights, colorful rangolis, and fragrant flowers. Scented rose water is sprinkled on guests and the family members.

On the day of Pateti, the Parsis dress up in their traditional attire, the kusti vest and dangli for men and gara sarees for women. They visit the ‘fire temple’ or the ‘agiyari’. The Parsis worship Ahura Mazda in the form of fire. Sandalwood, jasmine flowers, and milk are offered to the holy fire. They request the holy fire to purify their mind, their soul, and their body of evil thoughts and cleanse their past deeds. The Parsis pray for prosperity and good health of their loved ones and offer donations and charity to the needy. They visit their friends and relatives to exchange Pateti festival greetings and gifts.

Food and festivities always go hand in hand. Pateti is a time to feast on the Parsi delicacies like the berry pulao, dhaansaak, salli boti, patra ni macchi, chicken na farcha, saas ni macchi, dhaan ni daar, kolmi papeto tetralo, custard, sutarfeni, jalebi and more. The lavish Parsi spread is shared with friends and family. Non-Parsi friends join the celebrations as well.

Festivities across India

Parsis or the Zoroastrians follow Zoroastrianism founded by Prophet Zarathustra in Pre-Islam and ancient Iran about 3500 years ago. Following the Islamic invasion of Iran in the 7th century by the Arab tribes, there was mass conversion and heavy persecution of the local population. The religious and peace-loving followers of the oldest monotheistic religion fled from their home country in search of safer havens.

A large group of Parsis reached the coast of Gujarat, India, to escape religious persecution and forced conversion. King Jadi Rana of Gujarat welcomed the immigrants with wide arms, and eventually, Parsis blended in the community like sugar blends in milk. Ever since, the Parsis have been an important part of the country’s secular and multicultural fabric. They are the largest contributors to the country’s economic growth and prosperity.

There is a significant population of Parsis in the state of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Navroz is listed as a state holiday. The schools and banks observe a holiday for Pateti celebrations.

Parsi New Year 2021

Pateti or Navroz or the Parsi New Year is an auspicious occasion for the Zoroastrian community. It is celebrated with great splendor and pomp. Worldwide Navroz is celebrated on the 21st of March as per the Fasli or Bastnai calendar and coincides with Vernal or Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere.

In India, however, the Parsi New Year is celebrated on the 17th of August as per the Shahenshahi and Kadmi calendar. This calculation does not take leap years into account and thus is currently about 150 days apart from the celebration worldwide. This date will shift ahead with time. The Parsi new year 2021, will be celebrated on the 16th of August, Monday.

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