At their home in Dahanu, the Firoodi family spent most of Monday morning setting a small table in the living room. They first lay a green tablecloth over it, and then adorned it with seven unlikely objects including apples, green vegetables, garlic and a needle and thread.
The Firoodis are Irani Zoroastrians and the table is the central symbol of Navroze, the community’s new year that was celebrated on Monday.
This New Year marks the spring equinox according to Iran’s Fasli (harvest-based) calendar, one of the three calendars followed by the Zoroastrians in India.
“Navroze is all about new life, and we fill the table with colours and objects denoting prosperity and immortality,” said Farzeen Firoodi, 41, a psychotherapist who shuttles between Dahanu and Mumbai for work.
According to Zoroastrian scholar Khojeste Mistree, every thing to do with Navroze, including the fish bowl and the pomegranate laid on the table, eventually symbolise the triumph of good over evil.
Typically, the Navroze table is preserved for 13 days in Irani Zoroastrian households. However, the festival is celebrated by all Parsis who attend special prayers at the fire temple, cook traditional food at home and devote the day to family time.
“New year is a time to laugh and talk and enjoy with the family, and even my 86-year-old mother stepped out to join in the grand community dinner at Dadar Parsi Colony,” said Andheri housewife Armaity Daruwala.
She cooked a typical Parsi lunch of fish, sevaiya, rice and dhan dal for her children and grandchildren.