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THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NAVJOTE CEREMONY

Thursday, March 15, 2018

It is the most auspicious, sacred and joyful occasion in the life of a Zoroastrian child as he/she is intiated into the religious fabric adorning the Sadreh and Kusti our sacred apparel says Dr. SHERNAZ BAJI AVARI

The word ‘Nav’ means new and ‘jot’ signifies a new light, through prayers, rituals and incantations.  Normally, between the ages of 7, 9 or 11, Navjote is performed.

Before the Navjote, a purification bath known as the “Nahan” is performed. The Priests who perform the Navjote makes the child drink a bit of ‘taro’ (urine of the sacred white bull as a sign of inner purification). The child is made to recite the Patet Pashemani prayers along with him.  The child is made to wear Sudreh and Kusti, the latter is tied at the hands of the main priest who recites the relevant Kusti prayers. ‘Kunku’ is smeared on the child’s forehead along with a few grains of rice over it.  A flower garland adorns the child, A coconut, a betel leaf, a ‘sopari’ and an envelop of money along with a bouquet of flowers is kept in the child’s hand.  These are all ‘sagan’ items.  If the child is female a saree is also kept in the ‘ses’.

During the Navjote, the child affirms his/her faith in Ahura Mazda, Prophet Zarathushtra and the Mazdayasni Religion while reciting the Din No Kalmo prayers along with the priest.  After the Navjote prayers, the main Priest recites the ‘Dua Tandarosti’ prayers (blessings for good health and longevity) and from a cascade above, rose petals, coconut pieces and pomegranate seeds are showered upon the child.

The child is dressed in all finery and the immediate relatives give a ‘pariku’ (a packet of cash) to the child, parents and grandparents along with jewellery.  The Navjote child is now taken to the nearest Agiary or AtashBehram for blessings from Atash Padshah Sheb. Thereafter the child and parents come back to the stage when family and friends stand in a queue to shower them with gifts and blessings.  Photographs and videographs capture the beautiful moments which are always treasured in the album and as videos for remembrance.

The Navjote setting which includes booking of the ‘baug’, flower decorations, appointing a caterer, selecting the correct dress, jewellery and other paraphernalia are all planned well in advance by the parents of the child.  A lot of ‘mullah’ is thrown in for this auspicious occasion when it is inculcated into the child that now he/she is responsible for all their actions.  They are told to follow the path of ‘Asha’ or righteousness.  Parsipanu is truly reflected now.  Sadly, within a few months, some children wear the Sudreh & Kasti only occasionally instead of wearing it 24x7 as they are not properly advised by their parents who keep a lackadaisical attitude. Why spend a fortune then? Some fathers or grandfathers who are Navar Martabs have had the priviledge to perform their child’s or grand child’s Navjote!

The Parsi flavor or Parsipanu now comes to the fore with the tinkling of glasses along with mouth watering sumptuous starters.  Nowadays, the starters are far too many and almost kill the appetite for a full course meal.  But never mind.  We are Parsis, gourmets and gourmands to the core and relish the main meal too with equal gusto. Music, singing and dancing liven up the function.  If the meal has been very satisfying, all praises go to the caterers for churning up such a sumptuous fare. There is fire in the belly literally.  But wait, lets sit near the band, enjoying singing and dancing and ofcourse thank the host with hugs and kisses before bidding them goodnight.

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