Jamshed-e-Navroz is a festival celebrated by Parsis all round the world. Jamshed-e-Navroz is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Zoroastrian year. The new year of the Parsis corresponds with vernal equinox or with the advent of spring. The time is decided in Iran which is then passed on to the world of Zoroastrians.
Navroz LegendJamshed-e-Navroz is mentioned in the Persian ‘Book of Kings’ or Shah Nemeh by Firdausi. This festival was first celebrated by King Jamshed after whom the festival is named. It is celebrated to commemorate the ascent of the King on the day of Navroz. ‘Nav’ means ‘new’ and ‘roz’ means ‘day’.
The day coincided with that of vernal equinox meaning equal day and equal night. The day also marks the transition from winter to summer. Named after King Jamshed, Jamshed-e-Navroz is a pagan pastoral festival celebrated by the Parsis with lots of gusto. On this day it is customary for the king to be weighed in gold and silver which is later distributed among the poor.
Rituals and TraditionsNavroz is celebrated on a grand scale. Although Parsis are westernized, they are quite traditional when it comes to celebrating festivals. Parsis dress in new clothes and wear gold and silver kustis and caps. Jamshed-e-Navroz is a festival symbolizing the spirit of friendship, happiness and harmony. They decorate their houses with auspicious symbols like stars, butterflies, birds and fish. They welcome guests by sprinkling rose water and rice and by applying tilak.
Food forms an important part of their festivities. The most traditional drink during this time is falooda prepared from milk and flavored rose water. They also have ‘Ravo’ for breakfast which is prepared from suji, milk and sugar.
People visit Fire Temple or Agiary for a special thanks giving prayer called, Jashan . After the ceremony people greet each other by saying, Sal Mubarak .
Lunch is also special for the Parsis which consist of pulao. It is traditional for the people to keep a copy of the Gathas, a lit lamp, a bowl of water containing live fish, an afrigan, a shallow earthenware plate with sprouted wheat or beans for prosperity, a silver coin for wealth, flowers for colour, painted eggs for productivity, and sweets and rosewater in bowls for sweetness and happiness on a table. The spread should also contain seven foods beginning with ‘sh’ and‘s’ symbolizing creation.
People exchange gifts on account of Jamshed-e-Navroz. Parsi festivals bring people from all classes together which is a sign of equality.