The advent of spring in the months of February and March and the vernal equinox are the two events that usher the festival of Jamshed-e-Navroz. The actual time when the changes take place is noted down in Iran and the information is passed on all over the world to all Zoroastrians. This festival is mentioned in Shah Nameh, the Persian `Book of Kings' written by Firdausi. According to Firdausi's book, this festival was celebrated by the kings of Persia, Cyrus and Darius, to rejoice in the spring and in their own glory. According to a popular legend, the mythical Persian king Jamshed was the first person to celebrate this festival. The Shah Nameh also states that the feast commemorates the ascension of King Jamshed into the skies, in a chariot built by the demons he had subdued and forced into the service of mortals.
Named after the king, Jamshed-e-Navroz appears to have been a pagan pastoral festival that marked the transition from winter to summer. The rites of fertility and procreation can be perceived in some of its customs. Navroz is a day of joy and celebration. Apart from new clothes, all Parsis wear their gold or silver kustis and caps. Auspicious symbols like fish, birds, butterflies and stars, are patterned on doorways with metallic moulds. Guests are welcomed with sprinkling of rose water and rice. The most traditional drink for Navroz is falooda, which is prepared from milk and flavored with rose petals. The traditional lunch consists of sev and sweet yogurt, followed by pulao.
The meal ends with ravo, a copy of the Gathas, a lit lamp, an afrigan, a bowl of water containing live fish, a shallow earthenware plate with sprouted wheat or beans for prosperity, flowers for color, a silver coin for wealth, painted eggs for productivity, and sweets and rosewater in bowls for sweetness and happiness, are kept on a table. Apart from these, the table also has seven foods beginning with 'sh' and 'sa' symbolizing creation. Jamshed Navroz is a time for Parsis to reiterate their identity in India's melting pot of religions. For many Parsis, this festival also ushers in the New Year. It is on par with Gudi Padva and Ugadi, which are also New Year days in India.