Parsi New Year on August 16, 2020
The Parsi New Year is a regional & Restricted holiday as per DOPT Order falls on August 16th 2020 and celebrated on the first day of the Zoroastrian calendar’s first month, Farvardin. It is also known as Navroz, which is derived from ‘nav’ and ‘roz’, meaning new and day respectively in Persian. The festival falls every year on Spring Equinox around 21st March, but the Parsi community in India follows the Shahenshahi calendar and thus celebrate their new year later in July or August. In 2020, the Parsi New Year will be observed on 16th August (Sunday) in India.
History & Background:
Parsis follow the religion of Zoroastrianism, one of the oldest known monotheistic religions. It was founded by the Prophet Zarathustra in ancient Iran approximately 3,500 years ago. It was one of the ancient world’s most important religions for over 1000 years and was the official religion of Persia (now Iran) from 650 BCE until the rise of Islam in the 7th century.
When the Islamic armies invaded Persia, many Zoroastrians migrated, to places such as Gujarat in India and Pakistan. Nowadays there are an estimated 2.6 million Zoroastrians worldwide, with the Parsis (‘Parsi’ being Gujarati for Persian) in India being the largest single group.
The Parsis however, observe the new year using the Shahenshahi calendar which does not account for leap years, meaning this holiday has now moved by 200 days from its original day of the vernal equinox.