Even though most Parsis had taken a day off from their work, there was a sense of urgency to do things. With a series of to do things lined up for the today, Parsis were in a rush. And for that matter, it was not just the Parsis Irani Zoroastrians. All those who trace their origins in some ways to Persia, now Iran, celebrated Navroze (some spell if Navroz or Nowruz) with pomp on Firday.
A more cultural than a religious festival, Navroze is celebrated by Parsis, and Muslims. A large number of Shiah Muslims including the Ismaili Muslims who follow the Aga Khan celebrate it. The UN had declared March 21 as the International day of Navroze.
The reason for celebrating though differs a bit. Parsis also remember Jamshed Padshah, the first king in Persia who celebrated the festival as the new day of the spring season. That is one of the reasons they also call it Jamshedi Navroze.
Otherwise, the festival is commonly celebrated for the abundance and happiness it brings to the people. It marks the end of winter and advent of the spring season. Sun is said to be from the north and south pole thus making the day and night equally long.
"This year the time when the sun was at equdistant was at around 10.27 pm on Thursday night (India time). It is the time when we gather at a table which is decorated by food, fruits and greenery that in a way express abundance," said Zubin Kavarana, resident of Thakurdwar.
Shiah Muslims believe that all the family members are supposed to be present at the table at that point of time. "We have Quran, fish, garlic, sugar, Persian sweets, vinegar, Easter eggs and other fruit items that are symbolic of good health and wealth. The family is supposed to be together at home and pray so that the year goes well. There is good health and prosperity," said Ali Namazi, trustee of Masjid-e-Iranian which is popularly known as Mughal Masjid.
The Ismaili Muslims who follow Aga Khan distribute dried fruits, nuts and grains among members, symbolising blessings of abundance and sustenance. Navroz is also a time of family gatherings and celebratory meals, thus strengthening family bonds and fraternal ties. Shiah Muslims celebrate the festival for 13 days, at the end of which they are supposed to be out in greenery.
Parsis make sure that the prepare a number of delicacies on which they hog before taking a nap in the afternoon. "Dhandal patio, gravy item of mutton, chicken, fish, pulav and falooda are some of the items we prepare today," said Sillu Sanjan, resident of Tardeo who was about to go feat at her home after visiting a Fire Temple. "Mostly we take a nap in the afternoon, meet relatives and try to go to a play where most Parsis come. That is a way in which we can meet them too. Watching a play is a preferred option," added Sanjan