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Home > Discover Mumbai > City Lifestyle > Parsi New Year

Parsi New Year

Saal Mubaarak Bawaji !!

The Parsi Fire TempleOn the 21st of August this year falls the Parsee New Year. The whole team of Indias Best.Com greets all the Parsees "Saal Mubarak" and wishes them all a very prosperous New Year.

What are Parsees like? Why do they cover their head and not allow non-Parsees to enter their fire temple? What is the secret ?

The secret of being a Parsee is....Well, there's no secret! They are just like that only! Known for their direct approach and bang-bang nature; they are like all normal Indians are. Since their ancestors had migrated from Persia or Iran, they are distinct in appearance. You could easily mistake a Parsee for a European!

"Large-hearted people' and 'with a hilarious sense of humour' are the two phrases, which I got to hear from more than a dozen people when describing what a 'Parsee-bawa' meant to them. Known as the most generous, well-mannered, and jolly people who enjoy life to it's fullest", says Mr. Kiran Roy.

Parsees are European in their tastes but speak Gujarati and English. Their houses are spick and span, with beautiful flowery curtains adorning every window and door, the furniture is mainly wooden and antique British in quality. Every Parsee inevitably owns a piano. Music, food and the occasional drink make for all occasions; New Year or not! Parsees are known to live the longest lives. Anyone born a Parsee lives atleast twenty years more than a mortal non-Parsee! Though women generally outlive their male counter parts!

To preserve their culture, Parsees prefer to marry only within their caste. Their population being a bare minimum, they end up marrying their first cousins or far off relatives.

My paternal grand-aunt is a Parsee lady, my best friend at school too was a Parsee and also my first crush. Well, I would definitely miss them if they got extinct! But knowing their temperament, few would worry of the extinction of their race!

Jokes apart, lets find out how Mr. R Bharucha, a Parsee gentleman other than being a well-known author and editor of an international emag. plans to spend his New Year:

"On Pateti - which is the last day of the previous year, we are supposed to dwell on the wrongs or sins we may have committed the previous year, and atone for them. The next day is New Year and like all religious, ritualistic Parsees do, I too shall - ' pehle Petoba and then Vithoba ' - that is, have my breakfast first and then go to pray! With my family of wife and my two little angels, all dressed in new clothes, we shall visit the Agiari closest to our home. We are expecting guests at home for lunch and also plan to visit a few of our close relatives and friends during the course of the day.

It's not much of a celebration now but in the earlier days, a typical ParseeCome , Let us pray together would decorate his home with roses, marygolds, lilies and sunflowers. Spray rose water generously, burn incense sticks and burn sandalwood powder on live coals kept in a censor and decorate the front porch of the home in a very Hindu-like way, with designs of white chalk powder. Donations and gifts to the not so well-to-do-families is still in practice though. Wearing new 'Sadra' and 'Kasti' is also a part of the festive ritual.

For us Parsees, food and drink plays a very important part in our lives- festival or not! Parsee cuisine is a delicious blend of western and Indian cooking. Meals consist of traditional Parsee dishes, including dhansak with brown rice, pulao dal, sali boti, and patra-ni-machchi. The evenings are reserved for the theatre or a movie or an outing with the family. The day ends with good food and drink. This is how a Parsee would celebrate New Years day - say till a decade back. The people and the pallets have varied with the times. Today going to a restaurant in the evenings is more common."

On popular demand, we have for our readers, a traditional Parsee recipe of Dhan Sak.

Gurantee: You could win the heart of any Parsee by cooking this right and serving it with the most important ingredient - Love.


Click Here... for the Recipe of Dhansak

- Kamakshi Vyas

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