THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF NAVROZE
The Navroze Table / ”Sofreh – ye Haft Sin” has seven eatable items beginning from `S` along with bowl of water with live fish in it. The seven items are Samanu – Pudding made from wheat, Ravo or Kheer (For wealth), Seer – Garlic (For Health) , Seeb- Apple (For beauty), Somaq – Berries (Sunrise) , Serkeh – Vinegar (patience) , Sonbol – the Hyacinth (Spring) , Sekkeh – Coins (For wealth). The Sh sounding elements put on the table are The Sh sounds are Sherab – Wine, Sheer – Milk, Sherbet – Sweet drink, Shagufeh – Buds, Shama – Candle, Sahkar – Sugar and Shaheed – Honey. © Ashdeen Lilaowala
Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is promoted by UNESCO as a counterpart to the World Heritage focusing mainly on intangible aspects of culture. In 2001, UNESCO made a survey among States and NGOs to try to agree on a definition, and the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage was drafted in 2003 for its protection and promotion.
Intangible culture includes ssong, music, drama, skills, cuisine, annual festivals, crafts, and the other parts of culture that can be recorded but can be touched or interacted with, only with the vehicle for the culture. These cultural vehicles are called Human Treasures by the UN. Since 2009, PARZOR Foundation has been actively participating in documenting, preserving, archiving and promoting the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Navroze – a festival celebrated on the 21st of March (Spring Equinox) every year, marking the beginning of the Parsi-Zoroastrian New Year and Spring. In an effort to ensure posterity of one of the most important festival of the Zoroastrian community in India, Parzor Foundation has been successful in winning India its participation in theMultinational Candidature of Navroze in the Representative List of The Intangible Culture of Humanity. As led by the expertise of Mr. Cyrus Kuhestani – an Iranian expert on Cultural Matters and focal coordinator of the candidature, currently it holds membership of the following countries – Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. This clearly signifies the multi-cultural nature of Navroze as an element under ICH.