The significance of Ses
“Ses” is the most prominent auspicious symbol among Parsis. It is a round metallic tray of varied shapes and sizes, present at all times in a Parsi house, especially on auspicious occasions. The Ses for general occasions is a small one and the Ses for special occasions, like weddings and Navjotes, is a big one.
The Ses has a wonderful collection of auspicious items in it:
▪Divo : Symbolises light – to dispel darkness and evil.
▪Paro / Soparo : It is a conical metallic utensil in which patasha and/or rock sugar (khadi sakar) is kept. It is a modification of the Iranian kalleh ghand, a cone of rock sugar wrapped in green gold foil, embossed with a Farohar motif. It’s reminiscent of the conical sweets wrapped in green paper in Iran till this day. – Symbol of sweetness.
▪ Pigani: It is a small metallic utensil (wine glass shaped) with a lid in which Kanku (vermilion) is kept to put an auspicious red mark/tila on the forehead. The Parsis generally put a vertical mark on the forehead of a man and a round one on the forehead of the woman. The former signifies rays of the sun, the latter signifies the moon. Rice is placed on to the red mark to signify plenty.
▪ Gulabaz: It’s a metallic sprinkler-cum-container, which has rose water (Gulaab-jal) in it. In Iran it was used to sprinkle on guests while welcoming them and saying: Khush amadid or “welcome”.
▪ Miscellaneous items: Coconut (a symbol of resourcefulness and Utility), betel leaves (paan), betel nut (sopari), almonds (badaam), dried dates (khaarak), rice, (symbolising fertility and productivity) curd and fish (fresh fish or sweet meat in the shape of a fish)(for good luck). There can be water for purity; eggs – life-giving force; sugar crystals (khari saakar) -sweetness; rose petals – happiness; silver and gold coins – wealth and prosperity are also placed. A garland of fresh flowers is twisted around the ses. Nowadays, metallic replicas of some of the above things are placed in the Ses instead of real ones.
At the time of the Navjote and marriage, a special Ses is prepared. The tray is bigger, since a special set of clothes are kept, which differ for a boy and girl. If the Navjotee is a boy, then shirt, pant, dagli, socks and shoes are kept. If the Navjotee is a girl, a sari is kept. This sari will be most probably the first sari that the girl would wear when she grows up.