Coming from a Zoroastrian family back in Karachi, Pakistan, I remember Navroze being a grand celebration. To mark the advent of spring with a 13-day festival, each family would lay out a traditional haft-seen table, chalks out an elaborate rangoli outside their front entrance and exchange sweetmeats with their neighbours and relatives. As a family tradition, my cousins and I would even exchange painted eggs upon visiting each other’s homes, hoping to bag the coveted ‘best design’ title for the year. But having recently shifted to Perth, Australia, to pursue a post-grad degree, Navroze will be slightly different for me this year.
More than anything, I shall celebrate Navroze in its true spirit: offer my thanks to the season of bounty and pray for the coming year to be equally rewarding. This begins with cleaning of the house a week in advance and offering excess or unwanted clothes and household items to the less privileged. The concept of sharing is pivotal to Navroze as even the offerings laid out on the table are to be eventually shared between family members and guests. On the day of the festival I shall light a candle for warmth and happiness and source the seven items for my haft-seen table from a local Indian market nearby. At the strike of the clock — the exact second Navroze begins called saal tahvil — I will offer my prayers, wish my family on Skype, get their blessings and later savour vermicelli that was the highlight of every Navroze morning.
Sharmeen Garshasbi is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Australia.