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)

Navruz Date and Times this year

Fasli year 1391 Y.Z. ( 3759 ZRE) on a Metal Ox. 🐂_
 In Iran 🇮🇷
20th March 2021 @13:07:28
In India 🇮🇳
20th March 2021 @15:07:28
In UAE 🇦🇪
20th March 2021 @13:37:28
In Bahrain 🇧🇭
20th March 2021 @12:37:28
In Australia 🇦🇺
20th March 2021 @20:37:28
In UK 🇬🇧
20th March 2021 @09:37:28
20th March 2021@05:37:28
20th March 2021 @02:37:28

The ancient Zoroastrian and Indo-European roots of Nowrouz 

The celebration of Vernal Equinox and arrival of spring is the most sacred and joyous of all Zoroastrian religious holidays. It is called Hamas.paθ.maædÿa in Avesta, the sacred lore of the Zoroastrians.  The Avestan term Hamas.paθ.maædÿa refers to the exact time at which “the celestial paths are at a midpoint and have the same distance/length from each other.” The Persian word Now.rouz, means literally “New Dawn/Day” and alludes to the first “fresh dawn/light” after the vernal equinox.

Interestingly, the ancient Roman calendar began also at the vernal equinox. This is evidenced by the name of the months September, October, November, December, that respectively mean the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th month which puts the beginning of calendar in spring. The celebration of vernal equinox in the old Roman calendar was attributed to Romulus, the mythical founder of Rome.

For Zoroastrians, celebration of spring equinox is a a recurrent reminder of Frašö-kereitî the “splendid, fresh new creation” of the worlds, a symbol of the coming eternal spring when Our “limited, temporal time” will evolve into the “long dominion and everlasting age of the Gods.”

When the eternal spring finally arrives, the worlds and all that is in them will be refashioned to the pristine, brilliant state in which it was envisioned by the supreme God/Titan Ahûrá Mazdá “the Wise Lord of Mind Powers and Vision.”

Ahûrá Mazdá establishes/creates the worlds by the powers of his wondrous mind, luminous vision, celestial music, and triumphant spirit. He and his Auspicious Immortals are embodied by eternal quest for excellence, betterment and superb artistry that will culminate in the frašö-kereitî, the “splendid, fresh new creation” of the worlds.

The ten days before Vernal Equinox are dedicated to ancestors and Fravašis who are Valkyrie-like pristine prototypes or ideal images of all things. It is believed that the veil between our realm and higher dimensions is especially thin during last 10 days before equinox. These last 10 holy days of the year are referred to as Rözān Fravardîgán literally “bright points or luminous cracks for Fravašis.”

Families welcome their departed and heroic dead with prayers, consecrated nuts, cakes, other food offerings and by brightness of bonfires fragrant with incense. Especially on the eve of the 5th day before equinox fires are lit on rooftops or in front of the houses after sunset. People go door to door, covered in masked costumes to ask for consecrated nuts, sweets, foods and fruits.

The existence of similar observances among Celts celebrating Halloween and other Indo-European peoples suggests that these ancient rites go back to the very dawn of the Indo-European culture.The ancient bonfire ceremonies are still celebrated in the form of chahr-shanbae suri ceremonies where bonfires are lit during the last Wednesday night before arrival of Spring. However, the modern chahr-shanbae suri lacks its original Zoroastrian solemnity.

The Nowrouz banquet/table is a symbolic offering of decorated colored eggs, germinated wheat or lentil sprouts, hyacinth flower, silver or gold coins, mirror, candles, wine, incense, bowl of milk, spring water with thymes, apples or sour oranges, fried sweet bread and garlic cloves. However, the setting of the table and lucky items differs according to the taste of individual celebrants.

The items on the New year table start with the letter S in farsi. The S is an allusion to the Avestan word Speñtámeaning “auspicious, sacred, very bright and radiant” and refers to lucky items/symbolic foods that bring good luck and represent the Blessings of the Auspicious Brilliant Immortals in our lives and homes. In Zoroastrianism Godhood is “Good, Benevolent Genius” who only brings good fortune, prosperity, growth, healing, light and much wonder and joy into mortals’ lives.

Decorated, colored eggs of the ancient Zoroastrians share the same roots with Ôstara eggs that represent fertility and regenerative powers. Ôstara eggs were later incorporated into Easter and Christianity. Also similar to many Eastern European folklore, Garlic is believed to have miraculous healing powers among Zoroastrians and is essential in warding off diabolic spirits.

Another most interesting Nowrouz food is samanü or samnoo, a sweet pudding made with germinated wheat sprouts, flour, and water. Samanoo symbolizes sweet life and rewards of patience. Samanoo is strikingly similar to an ancient Finnish Easter pudding called Mämmi. This unique Finnish sweet pudding called Memmi in Sweden, is an ancient desert that is known only in Finland, and among some Baltic people. Mämmi is made out of rye flour, water, molasses, orange zest that is left to sweeten naturally (just like samanoo) before being baked.

There are loanwords from Indo-Iranian, into the Uralic languages, and vice versa that date back to a time when Proto Indo Iranians still lived in Abashevo culture and had extensive trade with Volsovo culture of the Broze age that made many cultural and linguistic exchanges between Proto Indo-Iranians and the Uralic people possible.

The Proto Indo-Iranian and Uralic loanwords in their respective languages are primarily visible in words of agriculture, animal husbandry, spiritual life vocabulary and shamanism.

The Spring Equinox Celebrations last 13 days. On the lucky 13th day, the decorated eggs and germinated wheat or lentil sprouts are taken outdoors to fresh streams, lakes or waterfalls, and are offered to the brightest and luckiest star Tištar or Tristar. Three knots are made in germinated wheat or lentil sprouts before offering them. Then a wish is made.  The three knots are symbolic of Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds, the supreme importance of keeping our disposition, energy, expression and actions, positive and luminous in the coming year ahead.  Tištar or Tristar of the Zoroastrian scripture appears in Moslem Koran as ash-shira, the Mighty Sirius Star.


Nowruz: The Iranian New Year from Myth to History

The Jalinous Lecture Series

Nowruz: The Iranian New Year from Myth to History

Monday, March 15, 2021
2:00PM EST via Zoom

Featuring a presentation and discussion with:

Dr. Touraj Daryaee
Maseeh Chair in Persian Studies & Culture,
Director of the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture
University of California, Irvine

Q&A to follow with questions from the audience

RSVP to receive the Zoom link via email

Funded in Part by the Jalinous Endowed Fund for Persian Studies





The lofty ancient philosophy embodied in the Now Rooz Table has been reduced to a Cheap philosophy like

I am SERKEH The Vinegar, I am sour but I am a good preservative, I symbolize Preservation. 
I am SUMAC, exotic in my own way, I make your Kebabs have a tangy taste, I symbolize Taste. 
I am SEER Garlic I lower blood pressure; I Pacify, I symbolize Peace  


Yes, you read it correctly it is SEENEE (Tray) هفت سی ن not the alphabet SEEN س which is of recent origin but has been repeated over and over again giving it legitimacy.
If you have paid attention to any traditional Nov Rooz table or even for that matter a table set up by western businesses to solicit Persian customers, you will notice on that table, some coloured eggs, a pomegranate, a live fish in a bowl, a mirror to name just a few obvious ones for argument sake. None of their names starts with the alphabet SEEN. س. There are many other items like them.
So, if these items do not start with the letter “S” why are they there? Are they not supposed to be Seven items starting with “S” س?

The Iranians culture is a very sophisticated ancient culture and the Iranians are known for their high standards and good taste, they like the table of their most important festival to be a Majestic one, not a skinny one with seven little containers with dull brown items like Sanjed, Sumag, and Samanu, which in the end have to be dumped. Rich or poor they like to arrange the most colourful table they can for their guest to partake from it and they keep replenishing them.
Moreover, their ancestors were called Wise Men, more than 2000 years before Galileo they knew the Earth was not the centre of the Universe. So, for sure they had a very meaningful message to pass-on through the Now Ruz table that they spread.
For that matter in Afghanistan, they arrange their table with SEVEN types of fruits or dry fruit, with no consideration for the alphabet “S”. They call it Haft Mewa.
We also read in history that people germinated SEVEN types of grain as a symbol of No-Rooz.

Among the Bas-relief in Persepolis, we see representatives of various nations in groups of seven carrying gifts for the King of Kings.
In ancient times they spread a majestic table by placing Seven Trays (HAFT SEENEE) on the table and in them they placed numerous items some symbolic others decorative, irrespective of how their names are spelt.
What is common in all of these is the number SEVEN so the real symbol of the Now Rooz Table is the number SEVEN and it represents the SEVEN ETERNAL LAWS OF NATURE which has been derived from nature and mentioned in the Gathas by Zarathushtra. Later It had to be camouflaged to survive the Cultural Genocide, and luckily it has. So, let us now revive it.
Truly, the Asha (2) derived
By the Good Mind (1)
Never before known
Among the wise and all creation
With it, make Good Rules (3) and never waning
Increasing Righteousness (4)
Leading us towards Perfection (5)
Zarathushtra – Gatha -Yasna Ha 28.3 (FR)

And those who are righteous are known for
Good deeds and use of the wise mind
In harmony with Wisdom in Creation
Their aim achieved
Their desire assuredly happiness
Their reward, knowledge and
being known as, righteous,
faithful and are praiseworthy (6)
Zarathushtra – Gatha – Yasna HA 28.10 (FR)
These verses were later canonized to guide the path in life and were pursued by all.
1- Good Mind– Use your Good Mind to inquire and learn the
2- Ultimate Truth- the Laws of Nature- the knowledge in Nature -Use them to make
3- Good Rules – Good Laws- Good Products – Which will lead to
4- Lawful Desire – Righteousness – that will pave the way toward
5- Perfection – Mental, Physical and Spiritual – which will lead to
6- Immortality –(a) In Death being remembered for your good work for generations
(b) In Life by losing the fear of Death –resulting in oneness with
7- The Creator of Wisdom – Khod Ah – KHOD = Self AH = to come.
To understand God through Self Realization.
1-Vohu Mana – Bahman 2- Asha Vahista -Ardibehesht 3-Khash Atra Variya-Shahrivar 4- Spanta Armaiti-Espand 5- Hurvatata – Khordad 6-Ameretata -Amordad 7- Ahura Mazda KHOD-AH.
The ancient Nov Rooz Table consisted of SEVEN TRAYS – HAFT SEENEE -to represent the Seven Eternal Laws of Nature, in the trays they put innumerable items, they even put a little broom. The message was in the Seven, not in the items.

One can say that as long as the number seven is represented the purpose is served. YES, BUT NOT when you start giving superficial meaning to each of the seven-item. That is what has happened with the HAFT SEEN, س we have lost the connection with the higher values in life, the SEVEN ETERNAL LAWS derived from nature, and instead started talking about ordinary values of each item like. SERKEH The Vinegar, I am sour but I am a good preservative, I symbolize Preservation. I am SUMAC, exotic in my own way, I make your Kebabs have a tangy taste, I symbolizeTaste. I am SEER Garlic I lower blood pressure, I Pacify; I symbolize Peace. I am SENJED the tasteless berry of the sorb tree. I am the fruit of a tree which provides shade in summer. I symbolize the shelter and security you need when you want to rest. etc.
So now in the free world, let us draw attention to the real representation of the SEVEN, get rid of the camouflaged superficial symbols, go ahead set up a Majestic Table with SEVEN large TRAYS and in them put all the things you love, and promise yourself to use your Good Mind to learn from Nature, produce good Products and perform good deeds and help create a Righteousness society and achieve Perfection in your profession, not to accumulate wealth but to live a happy life, and become Amordad – Immortal, by leaving behind a legacy that your family will be proud of and remember you. Take a few steps further and do something that will make your community, your country, the world, proud of you for it, and remember you for generations. In the process, you will achieve SELF-REALIZATION / KHOD-AH.

Jesus Christ was the recipient of the first three laws from the Wise Men, they are the ones that have to be achieved for the rest to follow. Jesus was tested (Mathew ch 4) he passed with flying colours and he finally said: “I and the Father are one” (John10). Unfortunately, he was stoned for Blasphemy and handed over to the opposing Culture to be crucified. The Culture that believed that God spoke to just one person and appointed that person as a go-between. The Culture that on purpose symbolically destroyed Persepolis, not in a drunken frenzy.
This is the message of the Now Ruz Table form 3759 years ago, spread it.
3759TH Nou Ruz

For more information visit

Fariborz Rahnamoon

« Older Entries