In Search of the Zoroastrians


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The Parsis have several festivals and holidays. The festivals are not marked by grand processions and music, but are meant for introspection and religious discourses. According to the Parsis there are six seasons in a year and a significant festival occurs in each. The Gahambars as the festivities are called were originally agricultural in nature, but as Zoroastrianism spread far and wide, they took on a religious significance.

Each day of the year is recognised as a day under the supervision of an angel while a festal day fell under the care of a group of angels. Each holy day is divided into five watches, presided over by five angels. The first Gahambar comes around on the eleventh day of the Parsi month Ardibehesht, the second on the eleventh of Tir, the third on the twenty-sixth of Shahtevar, the fourth on the twenty-sixth of Meher, the fifth on the sixteenth of Dai and the sixth on the first of Gatha. The Gahambars are days of great feasting and get-togethers. On such festival days, the rich feed the poor.

New Year- Aug 20

Khorda Saal


Jamshedji Navroz

Zarthost No Deeso







New Year- 21st March

This is the most important of the Parsi Festivals. The most important is the NEW YEAR DAY. This originally was celebrated in spring at the time of the vernal equinox on 21st March. Due to failure of intercalation of one month every 120 years, this comes now during the month of August for most Parsis in India. The New Year Day is a day of joy when people flock to the Fire Temples, meet relatives and go to the theatre in the evening.

Khordad Saal-  The Birthday of Zoroaster

The Birthday of Zarathustra, Khordad Saal, falls on the Sixth Day in the first month of the Parsi year, around August/September, Farvardin.

This day was celebrated with gaiety in the olden days but, of late, has become a quiet affair. It is a day of rejoicing when people go to Fire temples to offer their prayers and pay their homage to the Prophet Sahib. Then they celebrate with a grand feast.

Jamshedji Navroz


Some Parsis follow the Fasli calendar and their New Year commences with the Vernal Equinox. It usually takes place on March 21st. This day is also called Spring New Year because it bridges the old year to the New Year with the advent of spring. The resurgence of life takes place during this period with the symbolic victory of the forces of light over darkness.   This festival is celebrated by Parsis from Iran on a grand scale with lavish food consisting of dry fruits, melon juice and sweets.

It is called  Jamshedi Navroz after Jamshed, a pre-Zoroastrian King of Iran, in whose reign the festival started. It is said, that King Jamshed introduced solar reckoning into the Persian calendar, and also determined the date when the Sun enters the constellation of Aries, as the beginning of the year. Also, legend has it, that on this day King Jamshed forced the demons to carry him on their shoulders from Mount Demavand to Babylon. This day came to be known as Navroz or Jamshedi Navroz day.

 On this occasion, it was customary for the king to be weighed in gold and silver, and the money was then distributed to the poor. People greet each other by doing the Hama-zor - united in strength, and visit the Fire Temple.


There are certain days in the year which are celebrated as 'Jashan Holidays'. They are mainly Meherangan, Rapithvan, Tirangan, Adar Parab and Avan Parab. Jashan on Farvardian Parab is not a celebration but a solemn affair.


Zarthost No Deeso


Zarthost No Deeso takes place in June, on Khorshed roz, Dae mah (11th day, 10th month).

This is the day on which the death anniversary of the prophet symbolically falls. Special prayers are recited and Zoroastrians go to the Fire Temple to pray. The prophet Zarathustra is believed to have died in a temple while praying, and the day is an occasion of mourning, and lectures and discourses are held on the life and works of the Prophet.


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