Parsi-Iranian new year
What’s the difference between a Parsi and an Irani? We’re both Zoroastrians. The Parsis left their homeland when it was still Persia, and have had 1,000 years to settle down and prosper in the great Indian cultural heritage; the Iranians began trickling in just 300 years ago, driven out by poverty and social humiliation. The unrelenting association of the Indian Irani is with the dour, ‘hotul’ keeper, dispensing bun maska to Mumbai’s hungry office-goers. But there’s one day that the Parsis ‘maro maska’ to the Iranis, and that is Jamshedi Nowruz, the latter’s New Year on the vernal equinox.
The ancient world measured time in cycles, and the seasonal one’s birthing, fruition and withering reflected life itself. In Iran, the arrival of warmth after the deathly winter was cause for celebration. Myth marks Nowruz (new day) as the magical moment when the sun crosses the imaginary line to usher in Spring.
As with Holi, on the previous Wednesday (Chaharshanbeh Souri), Iranians jump over a fire symbolising the burning up of past evil. The celebration stretches till the 13th day of the New Year, and the best way to ward off the malevolence of this unlucky number is to stay outdoors.
The Nowruz celebration originated with the mythic Persian king, Jamshyd. As children, we listened to the tales of his wise and gracious 700-year rule, of the supernatural lustre that radiated from his crown — and of his legendary wine goblet that never ran dry. Clearly, Spring festivals in every clime and time are appended with approved bacchanalian rights.
source: Economic Times