This Mid-Summer Gahambar, Dive Deeper into the Parsi Culture 101

Typically characterized by Navroz and highly successful business acumen, the Parsi culture is a colossal dimension, waiting to be explored.

The mention of the term “Parsi”, brings to us an array of unrelated aspects. It has been a surprising revelation that most of the people in society have no or misleading information about Zoroastrianism.

Image Courtesy- www.india.com

A belief system that is the oldest monotheistic religion is now populated by just a few thousand people. The reason for this decline is woven in the layers of medieval history and crusades that marked the darkest chapters of Central Asia. A mass exodus led to their dispersion across the globe with a humble number seeking asylum in Gujarat.

Today, we best know the Parsi for Navrouz, the new year, their invincible stance at a business which makes India’s minority the top 10 billionaires of India with formidable net worth figures.

Above and beyond this facet, the Zoroastrian culture has multiple layers, hidden and untouched from the ravages of modernity, holding its customs and traditions close to its heart. And on the occasion of Maidyoi-Shema Ghambar, or the Mid-Summer Feast we bring you an up close and personal peek into this beautifully retained religion.

 1. The Maidyoi- Shema Ghambar– One of the seven Ghamabar of feasts that mark the Zorastrian calendar, this one celebrates the creation of water, sowing of summer crops and grain harvest. Marked by a gourmet spread of Parsi delicacies, the Ghambar boasts of a diverse approach. This feast may be a happy occasion or a eulogy of a deceased family member.

2. Chokna Dabba– Every Parsi house has a Chokna Dabba at the entrance, a kind of rangoli made of chalk, which is regarded as auspicious and prevents any infiltration of pests and ants.

3. Weddings-The Parsis are a highly endogamous community where any kind of communal deviation results in being ostracized. Owing to this unique factor, the Zoroastrians have been able to keep their cultural identity intact.

4. Navjote– The ceremony originated under King Jamshed that commemorates the coming of age or the welcoming ceremony for children into adulthood. The day is denoted by festivities and gifts.

5. The Connect with Nature– The popular notion that is perpetuated is that Parsis are Fire worshippers, which actually is a misrepresentation of their faith. Fire is the focal point, a representation of the one worthy of worship- Ahura Mazda. The quality that makes fire a perfect symbol is that fire is a natural element, not conceived or constructed by humans. Also, Fire exhibits the quality to purify and heal. The temples are called Agyaris, headed by Dasturs.

Picture Courtesy- Association for Revival of Zoroastrianism
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