On 21 March,Navroz (Nowruz), a festival celebrated in many communities and cultures, particularly those belonging to the Itnha-Shri tradition. It is also the Parsi New Year, Jamshed-e-Navroz -marked on the first day of the first month of the Shehenshai calendar followed by the Zoroastrian faith.
Named after the Persian ruler Jamshed, in whose reign the festival began, Jamshed-e-Navroz is symbolic of rejuvenation and revitalization.
For many communities, it marks the beginning of a new year and the first day of spring. More generally, it signifies a time of spiritual renewal and physical rejuvenation, as well as the spirit of gratitude for blessings and an outlook of hope and optimism towards the future.
Traditional food is cooked to mark the festival of Navroz. Parsee food is a combination of West Asian and Indian cuisine. Rava is a popular dish that is prepared with sooji, milk and sugar and mixed with rose water and grated nutmegs. Another dish is fried vermicelli which is cooked in sugar syrup and mixed with almonds and raisins.
To celebrate the festival, people meet each other and exchange greetings. Young people pay their respects to the elders. People exchange gifts and sweets among each other. The Navroz festival in fact brings to light the rich heritage and culture of the Parsee community. It also portrays the brotherhood and cordial harmony between the people of the community.
The UN’s General Assembly in 2010 recognized the International Day of Navroz, as the spring festival of Persian origin which has been celebrated for over 3,000 years. During the meeting of The Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage of the United Nations, held between 28 September – 2 October 2009 in Abu Dhabi, Navroz was officially registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.