Navroz, also known as Novruz, Nowrouz, Nooruz, Navruz, Nauroz, or Nevruz is inscribed in the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of India. The festival marks the New Year for Parsis, followers of Zoroastrianism, various sects of Muslims, both Shias and Sunnis. It is celebrated across a vast geographical area on March 21 as it corresponds to equinox. It is celebrated in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. In India, it is mostly celebrated in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
It is noteworthy that while Navroz is celebrated in March throughout the world, it is celebrated twice a year in India. First, it is celebrated as per the Iranian calendar and the second is according to the Shahen Shahi calendar. The second Nowruz is celebrated on 17th August. For a period of two weeks following Navroz - the New Year day, there are a variety of rituals, ceremonies and other cultural events. The festivities are said to start the New Year in a fun-filled way with peace and harmony.
Origin of Navroz
Navroz traces its origins in the Iranian and Indian tradition of celebrating the season of regeneration. The origin of Navroz celebrations has been mentioned in various historical accounts all over the world but mostly in Muslim countries both in Shia and Sunni communities. According to one historical account, when Jamshed became the king of Iran, he called the day Navroz - 'Nav' means ‘new’ and ‘roz’ means ‘day’. Since then the day has been celebrated as a new year. Jamshed-e-Navroz symbolizes warmth, friendship, and happiness.
Also, March 21 is believed to be the beginning of spring and is the day of the equinox. The tradition has been passed over the centuries, even though the communities have long migrated to other parts of the world.
Celebrations of Navroz
The ‘new day’ festivities of Navroz are celebrated with friends and family. An important tradition practiced during the occasion is the gathering around ‘the Table’. A table or a common room is decorated with objects that symbolize purity, brightness, livelihood, and wealth. A lavish feast is cooked to enjoy a special meal with loved ones. People visit relatives, particularly the elderly and neighbors to exchange greetings and goodwill. Children are gifted with special tokens. In some parts of the world, the celebrations also have street performances of music and dance, public rituals involving water and fire, traditional sports, and the making of handicrafts.
Navroz Rituals and Traditions
Elaborate arrangements are made after cleaning households such as adorning homes with flowers, lights, and other decorative stuff. Outside the houses, people draw symbolic patterns like that of fish. They believe that this brings prosperity and good luck. Other practices to attract these virtues include keeping fish in a bowl, an earthenware plate with sprouted wheat or beans, a silver coin, and painted eggs for productivity. For keeping relationships amicable, they keep rosewater and sweets in bowls on a table.
Just like any other festival, people are clad in new clothes. As the most important symbol for Parsis is Fire, they visit Fire Temples or Agiary for prayers. The prayer ceremony at the temple is known as Jashan. Outside the temple, people greet each other.
People welcome their guests while sprinkling rose water on them. The entire environment turns serene with the fragrance of incense sticks. They exchange gifts and even make charitable donations.
The Parsi New Year is celebrated with a lavish meal spread. The festival menu includes lip-smacking culinary delights to indulge in. Parsi kitchens whip up some of the most scrumptious treats on this day that include Mori Dar, Haleem, Dhansak, Salli Murghi/Salli Gosh, Saffron Pulao, Prawn Patio, Farchas, Sali Boti, Akoori, Ravo, Steamed Pomfret, Ambakalya, Patra Ni Macchi, and Falooda. Delish meal accompaniments like ‘saaria’ are also savored. To pamper the sweet tooth, sweet delicacies such as caramel custard are also served.
Zoroastrians consider ‘seven’ a revered number. So, seven elemental forces of earthly life are signified on this day. To align the planetary motions, they place ‘Haft Sin’ items on their table. These items are seeb (apple - beauty), senjid (dried fruit of lotus tree – love) somagh (sumac berries - good over evil), sir (garlic clove - health), serka (vinegar-patience), sabzeh (wheat, barley or lentil - rebirth) and samanu (a sweet creamy paste - wealth). A minted coin is also kept representing prosperity.
- In harmony with the new and fresh birth of the motherland and nature,
- We wish and greet each and every one Navroz Mubarak!
- May this year is the beginning of many new things for you to make it a memorable one.
- Wishing you a very Happy and blessed Parsi New Year to you.
- May this Navroz bring joy, health, and wealth to you.
- May the festival of lights brighten up you and your near and dear ones’ lives.
- May this Navroz bring in you the brightest and choicest happiness and love you have ever wished for.
- May this Navroz bring you the utmost in peace and prosperity.
- May this Parsi New Year give us happiness. Lasting ever and ever! Happy New Year!
- Like birds, let us leave behind what we don’t need to carry.
- Navroz Mubarak!
- May Navroz lights triumph over darkness.
- May peace transcend the earth,
- May the spirit of light illuminate the world.
- Wish you a Happy Navroz!
- May the light we celebrate at Navroz show us the way and lead us together on the path of peace and social harmony.
- May this Navroz bring along brighter days for you.
- May you enjoy this occasion with memorable celebrations.
- Navroz Mubarak!!!
- Happy Parsi New Year and Navroz Mubarak!
May God paint the canvas of your life with the most beautiful colors, peace, luck, success, & joy.