Faith

Celebrating Navroz

Navroz is a 3,000-year-old Zoroastrian tradition, a ritual celebration that signals the start of Spring and the Persian new year. In more modern times, in A.D. 1079, a king of Iran named Jalaluddin Malekshah started observing it on March 21. In the 18th century, a rich tradesman from Surat, Nusservanji Kohyaji, who often travelled to Iran, came to know about Navroz and began celebrating the day back home; that brought the festival to India. In the 19th century, another Parsi, Merwanji Panday, started celebrating the day in Bombay after his wife who was from Iran told him about it. Over a period of time, the festival was introduced in India on a wide scale by members of the Parsi community who eventually connected it to Jamshed, the illustrious king of Iran. Thus, the day came to be known as Jamshedi Navroz.

The scriptures state that in the realm of King Jamshed, there was no excessive heat or cold, there were no premature deaths, and everyone lived happily. The people were so contented it reflected on their faces; if a father and son walked together, the age difference would not be visible. King Jamshed, like other ancient kings of Iran, was known for his truthfulness and righteousness. For Parsis, celebrating Navroz in its true sense means living truthfully and walking on the righteous path.

Dressed in their best attire, Parsis offer prayers at Atash Behram, cook an elaborate spread of dishes, offer charity, and call over friends and relatives to celebrate the day. Parsi high priest Dasturji Feroze Kotwal says the most important aspect of the day is to instil good thoughts, do good deeds and speak good words. As long as Parsis imbibe the good qualities of their ancient kings, they have observed Navroz in the best possible way, he says.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 12:11:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/celebrating-navroz/article26592625.ece

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