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Parsi New Year (Shahenshahi) 2017 and 2018

Although the Parsi New Year originated in Persia, many people in India celebrate it as well.

201717 AugThuParsi New YearGJ & MH
201817 AugFriParsi New YearGJ & MH

Worldwide, people commemorate the holiday on the first day of the Zoroastrian calendar’s first month. This falls on March 21st. In India, on the other hand, people follow the Shahanshahi calendar, which means the New Year celebration happens in the later months of the year. This changes every year since the calendar doesn’t account for leap years.

People from different religious traditions take part in the festivities. However, the Parsi New Year does remain linked to Zoroastrian religion. The holiday actually represents a yearly renewal of everything in the universe. According to folklore, the prophet Zoroaster created the holiday and it still remains an extremely important observance for residents of Maharashtra.

To prepare for the day, everyone pitches in to clean the house and make it as presentable as possible. Special decorations adorn the interior and exterior of the house. Specifically, the threshold of the house have to look welcoming and beautiful for visitors. These decorations include garlands of flowers and representations of nature made with chalk powder. Also, bathing and dressing up are de rigeur.

A trip to the Fire Temple anchors the whole holiday together after breakfast. People head to the temple together to pray and give thanks for the New Year. During this time, people contemplate the good and bad they did and try to focus on the positive possibilities for the coming year.

After meeting and greeting, the festivities continue as people enjoy special foods like moog dal, pulav and sali boti, among a variety of other dishes. Visitors are sprinkled with rose water as they enter a home to welcome them. Often, people also use this auspicious time of year to give to charities or to the poor.