New year: Parsis of Karachi to mark Navroz today

REPLUG: Charity and prayers for the next twelve months


Sohrab Anklesaria August 18, 2011

KARACHI:


The Parsi new year Navroz celebrations started in Karachi on Thursday night. It differs from the Iranian new year, also referred to as Jamshedi NovRuz, which was commemorated towards the end of March at the spring equinox.


Navroz day is preceded by Navroz eve when young people meet for dinner and dancing at an event organised by the Parsi Pakistan Collegiate Association. This is possibly the most festive event, as the celebrations continue till the early hours of the morning and sometimes even longer than that.

Navroz is a time of joy and celebration for the Zoroastrian Parsis. It is a festival that has been observed since the 6th century BC when legendary kings such as Cyrus and Darius ruled over the Persian Empire. Today the tradition is carried on by Parsis all over the world.

On Navroz day it is customary for the men to wear white clothes and for the women to dress in bright colours. They begin the day by offering prayers and thanks at the Agiari or fire temple. They also greet and wish other members of the community there. Special prayers are recited by the ‘dasturs’ (priests) and then offerings of sandalwood are presented to the fires and money is donated in the charity boxes.

As the day goes on, families meet for lunches and dinners, they exchange gifts or just engage in conversation. The menu of most Navroz meals consist of Prawn Patio, ‘Sali Ma Murg’, ‘Patra Ni Machhi’ and Pillau along with tempting desserts such as ‘Lagan Nu Custard’, ‘Mawa Nu Khaju’ and ‘Malai-Nu-Khaju.’

Navroz evenings in Karachi are usually spent at the Beach Luxury Hotel where a funfair or ‘mela’ is organised by different groups. The massive lawns of the hotel are booked for this occasion by the hotel’s owner, Byram Avari, who is also a senior member of the community. He has been making this generous contribution on Navroz for countless years.

Activities such as face painting, carnival rides, games and other novelties are enjoyed by Parsis of all ages. The ‘fish pond’ which is an activity where wrapped prizes are randomly picked out of a large tub, the ‘lucky draw’ hamper and the gift stall are organised by the Karachi Zarthosti Banumandal.  Other games stalls are arranged by the Pakistan Parsi Collegiate Association. The annual mela is a charity event, most of its proceeds are donated to the Parsi General Hospital.

After the mela, families may go to restaurants or private parties where they can enjoy quiet meals and pleasant company.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2011.

COMMENTS (5)

MEHER AMALSAD | 10 years ago | Reply

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To all my dear friends and community members:

Having lived half my life in Karachi, this article brought back those wonderful childhood memories that I cherish to-date.

A note of gratitude to my trusted friend Byram Avari for continuiing the legacy of his respected father the late Dinshawji Avari (Founder of Beach Luxury Hotel) of supporting our Zarathushti community with joy and pride on such festive ocassions.

The Zarathushtis of Pakistan have played a prominent role in shaping Karachi.

I wish all of them a joyous and prosperous NouRouz.

I am proud to be a Zarathushti.

With love, light and gratitude from

Meher Amalsad Westminster, California, USA

.....

Let this be our New Year Resolution

STARS don't create LIGHT,

LIGHT create the STARS.

SHINE YOUR LIGHT AND BE A STAR

© 2011, Meher Amalsad, Author of Bread For the Head™

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goggi | 10 years ago | Reply

In the memory of a wonderful Parsi boy whom I once encountered in Bahrain, Swat during a school trip. We were a group of girls and boys from The Cathedral High school, Lahore and he was in a group of school boys from Karachi and we all stayed in the premises of an empty school. Hours in the night he narrated and explained me from his till then to me an unknown religion and I listened him mindfully.** Peace and Happiness to YOU and all your Community on this occasion of Nowruz (New Light)!

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