“Nav” (meaning new) + “roz”(meaning day) = “New Day”
The Zoroastrian Shahenshahi Navroz /Navroze is on August 18, 2015.
Before the New Year’s Day is celebrated, there is day of Pateti on August 17th, 2015 Pateti is the day of penitence” (from patet “confession,” hence also repentance and penitence). In addition the Muktads and Gathas are holy days in which parsis pray for their dearly departed. These are observed on August 8, 2015 – August 17th, 2015. Read some interesting memories growing up in India.
Commemorated in a grand and elaborate fashion, preparations for Jamshedi Navroz begin well in advance. Houses are cleaned to remove all the cobwebs and painted new. They are then adorned with different auspicious symbols, namely, stars, butterflies, birds and fish. New attires are ordered and made especially for the festival. On the day of Navroz, people dress in their new and best clothes are put on. Embroidered Garas, Sarees, Kustis and Topis (caps).
The doors and windows are beautified with torans (garlands) of roses and jasmines, bead torans are used as well. Color powders are used for creating beautiful and attractive patterns, known as chowk (in gujarati called rangoli), on the steps and thresholds. These intricate and creative patterns display the sanctity of the festivals. Moreover, fish and floral motifs are a favorite among chowks / rangolis and are considered highly auspicious.
Guests are welcomed by sprinkling rose water and rice, followed by applying a tili (tilak) from a traditional Parsi Ses. Guests are served Sev (a vermicelli preparation roasted in ghee and garnished with dry fruits) which is served with sweet yogurt and enjoyed by young and old alike. Ravo, Mava ni Boi, Dar ni Pori, Bhakhras,and other confections are made in the home or pre-ordered from the favorite RTI stores (Ratan Tata Institute).
After breakfast, it is time to visit the Agiary or Fire Temple to offer prayers. Special thanksgiving prayers, known as Jashan, are held and sandalwood is offered to the Holy Fire. At the end of this religious ceremony, all Parsis take the privilege to exchange new greetings with one another by saying ‘Sal Mubarak’. Back home, special delicacies are made marking the lunch as an elaborate and delicious affair.
Various Parsi dishes, such as Sali boti (a mutton and potato preparation), chicken farchas, patrani machchi (fish steamed in a leaf), mutton biryani / pulao and dhansak dal, kid gosh and sas ni machchi (a thick white gravy with pomfret – see 2 recipes) jostle for space on the table. However, the most significant dish that forms an integral part of Navroz celebrations is the chicken or mutton dum biryani / pulav (rice enriched with nuts and saffron). Dhan Dar (plain rice and moong dal) are a must if you want to cook something auspicious on this day!
Desserts too are not behind in terms of variety, the most important being Falooda. It is a sweet milk drink made from vermicelli and flavored with rose essence. Lagan-nu-custard, or caramel custard, is another favorite on this occasion. The entire day is spent by visiting friends and relative and exchanging good wishes and blessings.
Suggested Menu for the Navroz day: