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Navroze, the Parsi New Year Day is celebrated by the Parsis every year on 21st of March. All Parsis join the festivities and enjoy themselves. We do not know how the festival originated but history shows that it was first celebrated as early as 6th Century BC when Cyrus and Darius ruled over the Persian Empire. Firdausi, the great Persian poet, however, says in his "Shahnameh" that the festival was started by King Jamshed to celebrate advent of spring. That is why the Parsis refer to it as Jamshedi Navroze.
Preparations for the festival start many days in advance. The Parsis clean their houses and decorate them with roses and jasmine flowers. Beautiful designs are made with coloured powder in geometrical shapes or shapes of fish, birds and stars.
Food is an important part of Parsi festivals. Parsi food is a delicious blend of West Asian and non-vegetarian Indian cooking. At Navroze the whole family goes to the nearest fire temple in the morning where a Jashan- a thanks-giving prayer is offered by the priests. Each member offers a sandalwood stick to the sacred fire. People are dressed up in their best clothes. Children are very excited. While praying, Children were small round caps of gold and silver brocade, men wear black velvet caps and women cover their heads with their saris. After the prayers the Parsis embrace one another and with sal Mubarak.
The day is spent in visiting people and exchanging gifts with friends and relatives. In Parsi homes a silver tray is kept with rose petals, coconuts, red powder and uncooked rice for the tilak of the guests. Rose water is sprinkled freely on each guest.
During lunchtime, the family get together to enjoy the specially prepared meal. Food is also served to the less fortunate who cannot afford to celebrate the festival this way. Children join in giving gifts of food and clothes to the poor, thus learning early, the family tradition of helping the poor.
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