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Pune celebrates Parsi new year with good thoughts, deeds, words and ‘bawa’ feast

The main belief of the Parsi community relies on three principles, good thoughts, good deeds and good words.

pune Updated: Aug 17, 2018 17:00 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
The Cursetji family come together and have a grand lunch on Parsi New Year, which is celebrated on Friday. (SHANKAR NARAYAN/HT PHOTO)

True to their belief, Zoroastrians in the city will be welcoming their New year with good thoughts, great food and lots of love. With Parsi New Year today, Hindustan Times spoke to non-Parsis married into the community. They talk about the yearly celebration and what the community has given and taught them.

Niharika Devaya Cursetji and Murad Cursetji have been married for six years and successfully run a popular restaurant in the city for the past 10 years. On being married into a Paris family, Niharika, said, “Before I got married, everyone was telling me how conservative and staunch the community is in their beliefs. However, honestly, the family I am married into is nothing like that. I am blessed as they immediately took me in as one of their own. They never make me feel out of place. In fact, when the non-Parsi fire temple opened in the city, my father-in-law ensured we all go and spend a day there.”

(From left) Rael, Shalome and Jamsheed Bhadha. (HT PHOTO)

For the Parsi New Year on Friday, Niharika and her family come together and have a grand lunch. “It is one of the biggest feasts of the year at home and at work. Every celebration for us involves food. It is all about coming together, decorating the place with garlands, toran and rangoli.”

The main belief of the Parsi community relies on three principles, good thoughts, good deeds and good words. Shalome Bhadha, who is married to Jamsheed Bhadha, said, “Basically all plans and celebrations revolve around food. Thursday, marked Pateti, which was the last day of the old year. Friday, is the New Year for the community where their celebrate with lots of love and coming together of the community. They truly abide by their principle of good thoughts, good deeds and good words. They base everything and anything on it.”

On what they have learnt from the community, Shalome, added, “Everything is a celebration. Everything is a representation of prosperity, food is always grand and in abundance. They are genuinely true and pure in all their actions. Also, the reason why they are one of the most successful business individuals is because of their preference of quality over quantity. Their contribution to society is also very significant and noteworthy. I have also learnt how communal they are in terms of reaching out and helping out. They share very strong bonds.”

Rivka Irani, another non-Parsi who is married into the community, said that five days before the New Year, her mother-in-law cooks for all the deceased relatives. Rivka said, “Because they say the dead come back during this period. So food is laid out on the table for them. She goes to the fire temple everyday in that period where she lays out clothes for them and lights a diya. The fifth day is known as Pateti, which is the day they say the dead relatives leave. So you mustn’t wish anyone a ‘happy’ Pateti. The next day is the New Year. Where delicious food is cooked. As for me, the only thing I can do is enjoy the yummy food made by my amazing mom-in-law.”

First Published: Aug 17, 2018 16:41 IST