India's Parsis celebrate 'Navroz'

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Mumbai, Aug 19 (ANI): India's Zoroastrian Parsi community celebrated the New Year day, 'Navroz', with usual fervour here on Wednesday.

Members of the miniscule Parsi community flocked at the Fire Temple to pay respects to their prophet Zarathushtra.

The Parsi New Year is marked by joyous fervour and gaiety.

On this day, Parsis decorate their homes with "torans" or floral garlands and chalk designs. An important part of the celebrations is also the get-togethers with friends and family.

Ten days prior to their New Year, the Parsis have prayers for the dead as they believe the spirits of the dead are present at this time and if remembered, shower their blessings. These prayers are conducted at all fire temples in the city.

"On those ten days, we generally have prayers in our fire temple, which we normally attend. We offer them flowers. We, Parsi, believe in those days, the departed souls come down. We want their blessings at that time. So, we have our prayers and all that," said Shenaz, a Parsi woman.

The day before 'Navroz' is 'Pateti' when Parsis dwell on the wrongs or the sins committed by them the previous year. Navroz is also the first day of the first month of the Zoroastrian year.

"It's the same belief to have when you go and pray in a church. It's basically you go to pray our prophet, to god to ask him to protect you, protect your family and everything runs smoothly for the year ahead," said Jahadastoor, a Parsi youth.

Zoroastrianism, the religion of the Parsi community, is one of the oldest revealed religions in the world and the basic tenet is the law of purity and righteousness.

Zoroastrians worship all the natural elements but the most important is fire.

It is estimated that there are 150,000 Parsis in the world, and about 50,000 of them are settled in Mumbai.

According to legend 3000 years ago, Shah Jamshed of the Peshadian dynasty ascended the throne on "Navroz'- 'nav' meaning new and 'roz' meaning day.

This particular day also came to be known as Jamshed Navroz and is celebrated even in modern times with lot of feasting. (ANI)

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