Nowruz, also spelled as Navroz, is the Iranian New Year celebrated by ethnic Iranian people. Several ethno-linguistic communities around the world irrespective of their religious background observe it as the start of the New Year. In India, the Parsi community, who follow Zoroastrianism, celebrate Navroz with full fervour. This year, it falls on March 21.
What are the origins of Navroz? Which communities celebrate Navroz?
Navroz is the beginning of the New Year for several communities. It dates back as far as the 6th Century BC, back when the Iranian community were homogeneously Zoroastrians. Once the community divided over the course of history, people of Iranian origin worldwide continued following Zoroastrian traditions and with that the Iranian New Year as well.
What is the significance of Navroz?
Apart from the difference of one or two days, the Iranian community celebrates Navroz on March 21. March 21 is the first day of the Iranian calendar. It is also marked as the day King Jamshid was crowned as the King of Persia. King Jamshid holds a great significance in Zoroastrianism and the day of his coronation is generally considered to be the beginning of the New Year among Iranian people. It is interestingly the first day of the Aries constellation. Navroz is also the day of the Spring equinox and the rituals are performed based on the movements of the sun during the course of the day.
How is it celebrated in India?
In India, the Parsi community celebrate the Iranian New Year in a similar fashion as is around the world. People decorate their houses and wear new clothes on the occasion of Navroz. A visit to the Fire Temple, the place of worship of the Parsi community, is a ritual followed on Navroz every morning. Special prayers are offered and once the religious rituals are done, Parsis celebrate the day with various delicacies. In India, prominent numbers of the Parsi community still remain in Mumbai and Gujarat, who celebrate Navroz with ardour.