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Navroz or Norooz, which translates to “New Day”, is the Persian New Year. The holiday, which dates back 3,000 years, is rooted in Zoroastrianism – an ancient Iranian religion that influenced later religions including Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Navroz is considered one of the largest celebrations of the year associated with the Parsis.

President Pranab Mukherjee has extended his greetings on the eve of Parsi New Year and said that Navroz represents new beginnings. “Greetings and good wishes to all my Parsi brothers and sisters on the joyous occasion of Navroz,” he said in his message.


History of Navroz

Navroz is partly rooted in the religious tradition of Zoroastrianism or even in older tradition of Mitraism, the Mystery Religion practiced in Roman Empire from 1st to 4th centuries AD. Novroz is believed to have been invented by Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism, himself, although there is no clear date of origin. Since the Achaemenid empire (550-330 BC), founded by Cyrus the Great, the official year has begun with the New Day when the Sun leaves the zodiac of Pisces and enters the zodiacal sign of Aries, signifying the Spring Equinox, when the day and night are of equal length for the first time in Spring.


The Celebration

Before Navroz begins, on the last Wednesday before the New Year, Chahar Shanbe Suri is celebrated to cast away the misfortunes of the past year. Participants jump over bonfires with songs and gestures. A popular one, “Zardie man az to, sorkhie to az man,” translates to, “May my sickly pallor be yours and your red glow be mine.”

The phrase symbolizes trading in the color yellow, which represents sickness, to red, which is a sign of health.

A major part of the New Year celebration involves setting the “Haft Seen”, also known as the seven S’s. The traditional table setting includes seven items that all begin with the letter “seen” in the Persian alphabet. These seven things usually are – Seeb (apple), Sabzeh (green grass), Serkeh (vinegar), Samanoo (a meal made out of wheat), Senjed (a special kind of berry), Sekke (coin), and Seer (garlic).


At the exact moment of the New Year, known as Tahvil, families hug and kiss each other, wishing one another a happy new year. Cash, coins and gold are given as gifts – usually by the adults to the children.

On the 13th day of the Parsi New year, i.e the 13th day from the equinox, known as Sizdah Bedar, it’s typical for families to spend the day outside. Iranians are known to go to parks for a picnic, since it is believed that remaining outdoors will help one avoid misfortune. Another tradition involves throwing green sprouts into rivers and lakes to symbolize the rebirth of plants and the end of the New Year festivities.


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The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

four children standing on dirt during daytime 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


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