The largest minority community, not only in India but also in the world, Parsis, are all set to celebrate their new year on Wednesday, August 17. Pateti is celebrated on the eve of Parsi New Year. The vibrant festival began 3,000 years back by the mighty emperor Jamshed, who introduced the new calendar in Persia. Hence, Pateti is also known as Jamshedi Navroz or Navroz. The festival is celebrated by people in Middle-East, USA and South Asian countries such as India and Pakistan. According to the Gregorian calendar, Pateti falls in the month of August. The auspicious day falls on the spring equinox – the day when both North and South pole have sunlight making day and night of equal duration.
Pateti is celebrated to gain health, wealth, prosperity, and productivity. Four ‘Fs’ – Fire, Fragrance, Food, and Friendship – play an important role in the celebration. It is the day to relish Parsi cuisine, greet each other and exchange gifts. A variety of dishes is prepared on the day including fish, chicken, mutton, daan and desserts. Besides celebration, Pateti is also the day of repentance. The day to repent all sins – wrong words, thoughts, and deeds – of the past year. The day is dedicated to clean and purify the mind and start a new year with love and peace. On this day, Parsis wear traditional clothes and visit fire temple also known as ‘Agiary’. There is a tradition of offering milk, flowers, fruits, sandalwood to the sacred fire.
Parsis celebrate the day with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm. As a symbol of prosperity and longevity, there is a tradition to decorate the table with auspicious items including a sacred book, candles, mirror, an image of Zarathustra, incense sticks, fruits, flowers, coins, sugar and a goldfish bowl, among others.