Category Archives: Naurooz

The story behind two Parsi New Years: Prochy N. Mehta

The Parsi New Year is celebrated in India about 200 days after it is celebrated across the world

Children celebrate Parsi New Year Pateti in front of a Fire Temple. The celebrations begin on the eve of the New Year and are known as Pateti


Navroz is being celebrated this year on August 16. People often ask why there are two Navrozes – one on March 21, which is a fixed date and then again in August? The answer is not simple, but I will try to explain why we have two New Years.

We have three calendars, the Shahenshahi, Qadimi and Fasli calendars. In addition, we have the Yazdegerddi era, which starts from 632 CE and counts the years from the accession of the last Sassanid ruler Yazdegerd III.

People in India mostly follow the Shahenshahi calendar. While the Fasli calendar has the Parsi New Year fixed on the Spring Equinox and for them Navroz is fixed on March 21. The Shahenshahi calendar does not take leap years into account and as a result of which, the Parsi New Year is celebrated in India about 200 days after it is celebrated across the world. (A fortunate result of this is that we also celebrate two birthdays-by the English Calendar and the Parsi Calendar).

Jashan or religious thanksgiving ceremony in progress at Zoroastrian Anjuman Atash Adaran fire temple

Jashan or religious thanksgiving ceremony in progress at Zoroastrian Anjuman Atash Adaran fire temple

The festival is also known as Jamshed-i-Navroz, after the name of the Persian king Jamshed, who introduced the Parsi calendar. The emperor Jamshed is believed to have begun the celebrations some 3,000 years ago. The day when both the North Pole and South Pole have equal duration of day and night is the Spring Equinox and that is the day when Navroz is celebrated, that is March 21. At present in our Shahenshahi calendar it falls in the month of August. People pray for prosperity, health and wealth on this day.

The celebrations begin on the eve of the New Year and are known as Pateti. It is also believed to be the day of remission of sins and repentance. Zoroastrians dedicate the day to cleaning their minds and souls from evil deeds and thoughts and renewing their spirits with positivity, peace and love.

Parsi flavours rising above the city din in Kyd Street

Our miniscule community in Kolkata celebrates Navroz every year with a Jashan or religious thanksgiving ceremony in the morning at our only existing fire temple, the Ervad DB Mehta’s Zoroastrian Anjuman Atash Adaran. Community members dress up in their traditional attire and attend the prayers which is followed by a breakfast and partaking of the ‘chasni’ (blessed food).  Some might proceed to our nearby Dharamshala for lunch. It’s a typical Parsi ‘Sagan nu Bhonu’ (festive meal) of ‘Patra ni Machi’ (fish cooked in banana leaf)  Dal, Chawal, Chingri no Patio, (dal, rice and prawn curry), Lagan nu Stew, (Parsi stew) Gajar Meva nu Achar (carrot and dry fruit pickle) and Parsi Custard. Then it’s siesta time till the ‘Natak’ in the evening.

Parsis of Kolkata at a dinner in 2017 celebrating Navroz according to the Shahenshah calendar

Parsis of Kolkata at a dinner in 2017 celebrating Navroz according to the Shahenshah calendar

The natak is our annual Gujarati play performed by community members. It is a labour of love and the performers practise for at least three to four months to entertain us. The play is always a comedy and this year it’s called ‘Behram Ni Sasoo’ (literally Behram’s mother-in-law). It is directed by Cyrus Madan and guaranteed to keep us all in splits of laughter. This is normally followed by a community dinner which has been cancelled this year due to the fear of Covid.

I remember as a child the excitement of Navroze day. We would get a holiday from school, dress up in our new clothes and meet everyone at the fire temple. The play was always the highlight of the festivities. We children would get unlimited free chocolates and sweets and cold drinks and we really gorged on them. This would often be followed by a contributory community dinner. The tradition to meet, greet and eat together lives on.


Prochy N. Mehta is the author of ‘Who is a Parsi?’ and ‘Pioneering Parsis of Calcutta’. She is an Asian record holder in sports and also the first female president of the Calcutta Parsee Club.

NoRooz Celebration 2022 Kurdistan – Awat Darya and Yesna Organization

Dear Zoroastrians, Ushta, I hope you are all well and in peace.


On March 20, 2022, as a member of the committee preparing for Nowruz celebrations in Sulaymaniyah province, Kurdistan, among 16 members, I as the representative of the Zoroastrians and Azad Saeed, director of Yesna Organization for the Development of Zoroastrian Philosophy in Kurdistan, we celebrated with all the Zoroastrians in Sulaymaniyah, it was happy celebrations, where more than ten  Thousands of Zoroastrians and non-Zoroastrians participated in this event.


It was broadcasted live on numerous TV and Radio channels, and we as Zoroastrians gave an example of how the celebrations of Nowruz were conducted in the time of the Sassanids when the Zoroastrian religion was spread in the homeland of the Aryans (ancient Iran), which extended from the borders of India to the borders of China, passing through Asia Minor in Tajikistan  And Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, present Iran, Kurdistan and Mesopotamia along the eastern side of the Euphrates River, where we presented a play that embodies the spirit of celebrations on Nowruz festivals at that time, to make people understand that Nowruz holidays have become part of the heritage and traditions of the Aryan peoples who still celebrate it as a Feast.


On behalf of the Zoroastrians of Kurdistan and Iraq, we congratulate you on the holidays of Nowruz, hoping that it will be the beginning of goodness, love, peace, prosperity and happiness for all human beings in the world.



And most importantly, the Prime Minister of Iraq, has declared NoRooz as a National Holiday (after so many centuries)




Awat Darya



































In pics: How Parsis celebrated Navroz amid Covid-19 pandemic

The Parsi New Year which is also known as Navroz is celebrated to mark the beginning of the new Persian calendar. In the Persian language ‘Nav’ means new, and ‘Roz’ stands for the day, i.e., ‘new day’.

While Jashan was observed at fire temples across Hyderabad, Parsi community skipped its annual gathering at Zoroastrian Club in the wake of Covid-19. (Photo: Chitti Babu)


Parsi community people celebrate Navroz at the Fire Temple in Secunderabad.
Calcutta Parsi Amateur Dramatic Club staged a play that was streamed online
Though the members of the community could not visit the Fire Temple at Deolali Camp in Nashik, some went to greet the priest and the assistant priest.
Covid times did add caution to the Navroz celebrations in Bhopal on Monday, but there was no stopping the Parsi community from making the most of this occasion with food, fun and frolic. Dr Binaiffer Pithawalla Agrawal with her family (in photo)


Parsi community members in Bengaluru on Monday celebrated Navroz, the Persian New Year, at the Fire Temple on Queens Road. Navroz is celebrated as a spring equinox festival throughout Zoroastrian history. Ahead of the new year, more than 800 members observed All Souls Day for the last 10 days, where they seek blessings from the departed. Shereyar Vakil, vice-president, Bengaluru Parsee Zoroastrian Anjuman, said: “It is a celebration of a new beginning. This year we hope and pray for the end of the pandemic.” In pre-Covid times, the day would see festivities, large gatherings, cultural festivities and community dinners. (Photo: K Sunil Prasad)
Parsis throng the Fire Temple in Saiyedpura area of Surat. They offered prayers at the temple and greeted each other Navroz Mubarak. (Photo: Gaurang Joshi)
Members of the Parsi community celebrated Navroz at the Fire Temple at Chawani, Indore on Monday. (Photo: Pravin Barnale)
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