Parsi New Year is a holiday that originated in Iran but is now celebrated in parts of India, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan and Iraq as well. It is a holiday that is commonly celebrated by the Faslis, Iranian Muslims and Zoroastrians. While it is celebrated as a secular day for most religious groups, for the Zoroastrians it is considered a holy day. This holiday is also known as Navroze, this day marks the first day of the spring equinox and is therefore celebrated between March 19th and March 22nd.
The Parsi New Year can be traced all the way back to the Mithraic Mysteries practiced in the Roman Empire during the first century AD and later to Zoroastrianism. In fact, it is commonly believed that Zoroaster invented this holiday himself. Many of the common ritualistic elements of this holiday can be directly linked to the festivals of Tiregān and Yalda.
In modern times, this holiday was traditionally an Iranian holiday. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union allowed many of the Central Asian countries and countries across the Caucasus Mountains the freedom to adopt this holiday for themselves.
Customs, Traditions And Celebrations
For many cultures, preparation for Parsi New Year begins several weeks before the actual holiday. During this time, children are usually on holiday from school and people prepare for the day by during a traditional spring cleaning of their homes. Another common practice during this time is to buy new clothing and new furniture.
Another tradition common observed is the preparation of the “Table Of Seven S’s”. This is a table set up with many symbolic objects. Below is a list of some of these objects and what they symbolize:
- Mirror-Reflection on the past
- Sumac-Spice of life
- Brightly Colored Eggs-Fertility
- Garlic-Good health
- Wheat Pudding-Sweetness of life
It is also common for families to create great feasts during this time. Some of the foods that are often served at these feasts include a soup called Ash reshteh (made with noodles, whey, lentils, onions and spring onion) and a rice dish called Sabzi Pollo (made with pilaf, dill, coriander and other herbs). Many popular desserts are also served and these include rice cookies called Naan Berengi, a sweet pastry called Baqlava and sugar coated almonds called Noghl.
The Parsi New Year is an important time of the year for many Faslis, Muslims and Zoroastrians. It is not only a time to celebrate the coming of spring and reflect on the past, but is also an important social event that allows people to spend time with their families and the ones they love.