India is a country of many castes, creeds and religion. The Parsis came to India so they could maintain their culture and way of life. They also brought along the Shenshai calendar. According to this calendar the new year falls sometime in August and is known as Pateti or Parsi New Year.
Pateti is actually new-year’s eve and a day on which people are required to think about all the good and bad things that have happened in their lives during that year. They then reaffirm a promise to live their lives through the tenets of Zoroastrianism- right thoughts, right words, and right action.
Over the years Pateti has become a single-day celebration that is celebrated on new-year’s day itself. Parsis visit the Agiari (fire temple) and offer prayers. They burn sandalwood in their houses and decorate their houses with rangoli.
The Agiary is basically the sacred fire temple which was brought from Iran, in which a fire is always kept burning by the high priest. The fire is a symbol of Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda, (Avestan: “Wise Lord”) also spelled as Ormizd or Hormazd is the supreme god of the ancient Iranian Zoroastrianism. According to Zarathustra (Iranian Prophet), Ahura Mazda created the universe and maintains its cosmic order. He is the supreme deity who is the creator and upholder of the “Asha” (the truth) and everything good.
Did you know that Ahura Mazda is found on coins too! This coin in the image above is from Kushano-Sasanian Empires. Here are the coin descriptions:
Ruler: Hormizd I/Ohrmazd
Obverse: Diademed, bearded bust of king right, wearing a lion-headed crown, topped by a globe, Bactrian Greek legends at the right field: KaBoD (Kavad/Kawad), all within dotted border.
Reverse: A large fire altar, with the flame emerging at the top, tamga symbol on the altar shaft, two ribbons coming from each side of the altar as decorative attachments, all within dotted border.
As most cultural New Years around the world, the Persian/Iranian New Year Nowroz also begets joy and love from friends and family and lots and lots of food!
Mintage World wishing a very Happy Parsi New Year to all! May this Navroz bring good health, wealth, prosperity, and productivity to you!
Image Source: Amit Udeshi