Category Archives: Navjote

Zoroastrian Navjote ceremony, Bombay 1985

The Navjote (Zoroastrian investiture) ceremony of my sister and I, in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1985. This is a particularly rare piece of footage as children of mixed parentage (our dad is a Parsi, an Indian Zoroastrian, and mum is from a Christian, Church of England background) are still not widely accepted into this proudly guarded, ancient religion of the Persian Empire by the vast majority of traditionalists. Progressive Dasturs, Zoroastrian priests, conducted the ceremony at our Aunt and Uncle’s penthouse in Nibbana, Pali Hill, on 28 December 1985. “Zoroastrianism is the oldest of the revealed world-religions, and it has probably had more influence on mankind, directly and indirectly, than any other single faith.” – Mary Boyce, Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979, p. 1) You can read about the Navjote ceremony, and find out more about my religion at:


Also check out the festivities and atmosphere at the Navjote function

The Navjote Ceremony

According to religious gi traditions, Navjote is the ritual to invest a Parsi Zoroastrian child with the spiritual vestments of Sadra and Kasti so that it could then be a “nav” (“new”) “jot” (“per-former of prayers”) all his or her life. It is a ritual of the greatest religious and spiritual importance in a child’s life. It is not an entrance into the Parsi Zoroastrian fold, as is generally believed. The child is already a Parsi Zoroastrian as soon as he/she is born to Parsi parents. The Navjote ritual is to connect the child with the spirit of Prophet Zarathushtra, who would be his/her life-long guide and teacher.

It is also the ritual to formally present the child with the Sadra and the Kasti, which are ‘ the religious implements necessary for performing the Kasti rit-ual and reciting all other prayers. The ritual starts with the administering of the Nahan “ritual bath” by a priest to the child. The priest makes the child say some prayers, chew a couple of tender pomegranate leaves, drink a couple of drops of Nirang (consecrated bull’s urine), and take a head bath in which Gaomez/Taro (unconsecrated bull’s urine) is applied on the body before bathing with water.

This ritual not only cleanses the child from the outside but also mentally and spiritually cleanses the child from within. The child is now not supposed to talk or touch anybody till his/her Navjote is completed. Before the child steps onto the stage or mat on which the Nav-jote is to be performed, the mother of the child or any other senior family lady performs the traditional aachu-michu after which the child sits on a short wooden stool (patio) facing east. The performance of aachu-michu symbolises the taking of precautionary steps to avert any untoward happening in the life of the child, especially before the momentous ritual which is to take place.

The child then recites the Patet Pashemani prayer seeking forgiveness for previous mistakes before starting a new life and a fresh account of deeds with Ahura Mazda. If the child is not able to say the Patet, then he/she should recite 21 Yatha Ahu Vairyos and 12 Ashem Vohus. The rest of the priests sitting on the mat also recite the Patet Pashemani prayer on behalf of the child. The child is then made to stand facing the direction of the sun. The main Navjote ritual has to be performed by a priest who is mature and capable enough to bless the child. At the outset he makes the child recite the Din no Kalmo, in which the child gives the following four promises before the Anjuman or “congregation”: a. Ahura Mazda is my only God; b. Zarathushtra is my only prophet; c. Mazdayasni Zarthoshti is my only religion; d. I will be faithful to my God, prophet and religion all my life.

The child then does the actual first Kasti of his/her life holding the fingers of the priest. The priest keeps on blessing the child. This part of the ritual highlights the life-long importance of Nav-jote in the child’s life where the child is equipped for the battle with evil in his/her ‘ life with the blessings of the priest; the connection with the prophet; the strength of the prayers; and the conviction of child’s promises. In the final act of the Navjote, the chief priest applies a red vermilion mark (kanku-no-tilo) on the child’s forehead and keeps a few rice grains over it. Then a garland is put around the child, and the child is given a coconut, a betel leaf and sopari and an envelope of money, all symbolic of the auspicious occasion (sagan). Finally, the bouquet is kept in the child’s hands or lap.

Thereafter, the chief priest who has performed the Navjote stands facing the child and prays for the health of the child by reciting the Doa Tandarosti prayer, showering a mixture of rice, shredded almonds (rarely used nowadays), raisins, slices of coconut and rose petals on the child from a metallic tray. This part of the ritual is a symbolic way of blessing the child with health, wealth, happiness, fertility, plenty and prosperity.

Afterwards, the parents thank the priest with flowers and monetary gills. Then the child is dressed up in new clothes and taken to the nearby Agiary or Atash Beh-ram where the child offers sandalwood to the Sacred Fire and seeks blessings.



Pants, Shirts, Dagli, Sadra, Lehenga, Jama to ‘Gol’ Topi

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How Zoroastrians wear their beliefs

Garments are designed to promote ‘good thoughts, good words and good deeds’

Members of many different religions wear clothing that is specific to their faith and their patterns of worship. Members of the Zoroastrian faith, one of the world’s oldest religions founded in ancient Persia in the sixth century B.C., wear two special pieces of clothing: a sudreh and a kusti.

The sudreh is a white undergarment vest. There is a “v” pocket in front called the “giriban.” One has to collect as many good deeds as possible in this giriban. A person wearing it is considered to be the keeper of the pledge to do good (kissaai-karfa). The fabric has to be clean, and a Zarathusti (another name for a Zoroastrian) wears the sudreh after taking a daily bath.

The second item of clothing, the kusti, represents the 72 chapters of one of the holy Zoroastrian books. It is woven of lamb’s wool and has tassels on both ends. It is wound around the waist three times to represent the good thoughts, good words and good deeds to be performed by the wearer. It is placed around the waist after the sudreh is put on. It is knotted twice, once in the front and once at the back. This sets a binding commitment to the Zoroastrian creed.

The sudreh is put on after a cleansing bath without any prayers, but donning the kusti requires the help of prayers. These prayers are found in the Khordeh Avesta, the daily prayer book of the Zoroastrian faith. “Khordeh” means “god” and “Avesta” is an ancient language of the Persians in which the book is written. Hence it is the “language of god.”

A child begins wearing the sudreh and the kusti during the initiation ceremony of the navjote (newly born). Traditionally this ceremony is performed at the age of 15, which is considered to be the age of reason or coming of age. One must have the capacity, maturity and training to make responsible choices, and to take responsibility for decision-making and judgments. Before the navjote ceremony, these things are the responsibility of parents. During the navjote ceremony, the child makes a pledge to abide by the tenants of the faith, a covenant (a pledge) that Zoroastrians will renew every time they recite the kusti prayers as they wrap the kusti around the waist.The Zarathusti initiate must have the capacity to enter the faith with this pledge and be responsible and accountable for every thought, word and deed.

According to the Zoroastrian faith, one is endowed with a good mind (vohu manah) at birth, to be used for good thoughts, good words and good deeds. The good is referred to as “spenta menuy,” and the evil as “angrey men,” according to the Avesta texts.

Cowsie Malva lives in Redlands. A retired school teacher, Malva is a member of the Redlands Area Interfaith Council and a Zoroastrian priest.

Navjote    Mubarak – preparations and process

 What you will need : Red is common for Boy and Girl.

One Big Polished ses: Kasti kari ne, saariduva magi ne kaam saroo karo — Sopara ma put little rice, (for the girl put 7 redchital/bangles  on the Sopara, you willneed to put them on after the Navjote is done)  Gulabas fill with Rose water, Kankoo dani putin  kankoo and mix with rose water, put in a match stick, and couple of paper napkins, a small bowl of set sweet curd.   In the ses put 5 to 7 paan,  on it, put one silver coin of Laxmi or Sarswati or Jarthost (whatever you like), put Kharek, sopari, badam, harad nogathio ,batasa,  sakar,  handful of rice (extra rice take it in small vati for all the dear family members to take overna) one new (navoo) coconut on it write Navjote Mubarak (if you like) or ask your Datoorji if he wants to do it? Sadro  Kasti,  and all clothes to be worn after the Navjote.  Gajro for the ses.

Gajro and bouquet for the child.

Ful na haar for the Dastoorji.

 For the Boy:

One new set of shirt pant topi to wear from home


White Pant

White Full Sleeved Shirt

Hand stitched 1 Sadro with tiri, giryan, sleeve, ne button no  sivvano (6 more for daily use)

One clean white hanky for Nahan Nahvane mate

3 to 3 ½    gaj kasti

Underwear white

White Pyjama


Shoes (pref. brown)

Gold buttons, cuff links, ring, watch (all optional) Keep handy in your purse.



Topi  ( 2 (one to wear from home, one after Nahn)


Pichori  (white material 2 to 2 ½ mts. Or shawl)


Hair brush, comb,

Big empty Plastic bags (to put in wet towel, worn socks, shoes, worn clothes)

For the Girl:

One new set of frock and clothes  while going




Hand stitched 1 Sadro with tiri, giryan, sleeve, ne button no sivvano (6 more for daily use)

3 to 3 ½    gaj kasti

White Pyjama (or red/white embroidered pyjama)




Topi  ( 2 (one to wear from home & one after Nahn)


Pichori  (white material 2 to 2 ½ mts. Or shawl)


Hair brush, comb



Hair brush, comb

Hair clips, ribbons, hair band (whatever)

Jewellery what ever you want to give (chain,pendent,necklace,bracelate)

Earings must have

One set of Saree, petticoat material, blouse piece, Sadro material, Hanky,

 Scarf and glass bangles (you may keep it for the child’s first saree)

Big empty Plastic bags (to put in wet towel, worn socks, shoes, worn clothes)

Hair dryer if the hair is long and you need it

Navjotena Ashirwad na chokha, get it collected and along with the gajro, coconut, and few fresh flowers, sakar  dariye vatoo karvanoo

Cash envelopes to be kept ready (amount you will have to ask your Dastoorji)

Gireban nu cover keep it in the ses, dastoorji will take it.

Put one rupee coin in the Diva

One cover for Nahn Nahava na Dastoorji ne.

One cover Akhyana na khoomchi ma mukvanoo

One cover Dastoorji navajote kare tenu

And one cover each for all the dastoorjies who sit to do the navjote.


One extra white hanky (for nahn nahva-no to hold the pomegranate leaf/Daram nupatru)

While taking the child for bath…….dastoorji will give you Nirang, in the bathroom let the child remove clothes and stand facing the mother, mother to put little nirang/taro.  Starting with head to toe,take one egg in hand and  baccha par thi ovari ni baajoo ma paper per fori devanoo. 

Take little doodh ful (ask if they will give from there or arrange for it from home Optional) add few grains of rice and apply all over once again starting from head to toe.

After wiping the child dry, wipe head also well, put on lengha (pyjama), and coverhim with shawl or Pichori, wear cap, chappals and dastoorji will take the childto the stage. Mother or any vadil from the family,  should go up the stage achoo michoo kari ne baccha ne stage pur levanoo.

While the Navjote ceremony is being done it is preferred that the parents (or at least one of the two family member) sit or stand near the stage so the child gets confidence and at the same time shower your blessings and pray to Ahura Mazda, remember your dear departed loved ones,to shower the child with the choicest blessings for good health, wealth,prosperity, success in life and to be a true Zoroastrian always. J  This is not compulsory but this thought process is excellent for the child.

Once the Navjote is over the father gives the envelope and garlands to thedastoorji. Tell them thank u and Jami ne sadhvjoji (nahi to ghere avijase!!  J )  if they are not waiting for dinner, see them to the gate of the Baug.

Mother along with the ladies member of the family invites her own mother and mother-in-law to the stage to dress the child. First the parents do tili and take overna wishing the child all the best. Dress the child, whatever you want to give (buttons, chain, watch, gift,  give. Garland and bouquet and coconut in hand the child is ready to face the camera as true Jarthosti and the entire world.

(If girl’s Navjote has been done after the child is dressed in all her finery, open the saree a little and put it over her shoulders, slip the bangles in her hands, and give the rest of the set in her hands along with coconut, bouquet and garland the child.  Before going to the Agiary put the saree and all back in the ses)

Accompany the child to the Agiary/Atashbehram (before all the girls come to kiss) and help him to do his first kasti. Help the child Light a divo, offer sukhad if you like pray tandorasti for all. Come out and let everyone meet and shower their love, kisses and blessings J.

Navjote na Ashirwad na chokha, get it collected and along with the gajro, coconut, and few fresh flowers, sakar  dariye vatoo karvanoo


Before leaving the home Keep ‘Achoo Michoo’ tray ready with small katli/vati water,one egg, paan, sopari, kharek,badam, sakar and rice.  When you return home after the Navjote, do Achoo Michoo and take the child in with right foot forward. J

Also keep his/her night clothes ready, sleeping suit, night dress for the child to change.

It would be a good practice to do kasti everynight before going to sleep.

How to do Achoo Michoo

  1. Put the aluminum foil or paper tray in right hand corner of the door.
  2. Take the egg turn it over the head 7 times and brak it in the tray on your right side.
  3. Take Paan, Kharek, sopari, badam, sakar, halad no gathio and few grain of rice, pick up all together turn it over the head for 7 times and throw in on the right side again.
  4. Take the coconut turn it 7 times and break it on the right side and pour little coconut water all over the‘umber’ and put it back on the right side.
  5. Take out little rice and give it to the person standing next to you.
  6. In the thali/khumchi put little rice and put it in little water from the Katli/vati
  7. Take the thali round the head for 7 times  and pour little water on the right side and little on the left side.
  8. Take the rice grains from the person you have given to and take overna of the child
  9. Jamne page baccha ne under levanoo ne koti karvani.

Very  Important.  As &  when possible and at the first opportunity take the child to Iranshah to get Blessed.T

Thrity Yazdi Tantra


PLAYLIST (You can click on the play time to jump to each respective song)



(C) Zoroastrian Studies

Buying Parsi sarees in Mumbai

There are several shops that sell Parsi sarees in Mumbai… most of them are located near Cama Baug, Grant Road. You can also try RTI-the Ratan Tata Institute at Hughes Road (although most of their sarees are hand embroidered and hence very expensive).

Here are a few details…

First up is Coronet. One of the oldest shops in the area. They sell things that are essentially used for Parsi weddings (ses, madhosaro kits, net sadras, wedding sarees) and the Parsi household (torans, asho farohars, night lamps, divos).parsi-sari-img_3665


What is a gara saree? It is a saree that has white (or light coloured) embroidery on a dark shade saree. The designs are inspired by Chinese motifs. They include cocks, parrots, Chinese men, Chinese houses and bamboos.

There are several other shops that deal with similar items. Most of them sell machine-embroidered gara sarees and white lace wedding sarees. The lace sarees are mostly German lace and French Chantilly. The range of the sarees is from Rs 18K to 40K. Depending on the type of lace, amount of sequins, crystals and beads on the saree, the price increases.


A shop that deals with garas, lace sarees, sadra material and jewellery


They also have a different kind of outfit… something like a jacket kurti that can be worn by those who are not comfortable wearing sarees. Same gara design on it.

Below is a list of shops I visited along with numbers… for those of you who want to call before going.

Coronet: 23854426
Damania and Co. 23888187
Shree Pushpam: 23853228
Felinaz Collections: 65258044


Zoroastrian Initiation Ceremony in Copenhagen

Zoroastrian Initiation Ceremony in Copenhagen
by “European Centre for Zoroastrian Studies”

Wonder if you have  seen this  before?

That is our  friend  Khushro K. Pardis spreading Zoroastrianism in Northern Europe.

Lucky new Zarathushtis they  get to sip wine, we got smelly nirang.



Rusi Sorabji

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