Jamshed Navroz is one of the most cherished Iranian festivals and is celebrated by all Zoroastrians across the world. The festival marks the Zoroastrian New Year and is celebrated on 21st March which coincides with the Spring Equinox. It has been celebrated for almost 3,000 years now and is deeply rooted in the rituals and traditions of the Zoroastrian belief system. The word Navroz has been derived from two Persian words, ‘nav’ means ‘new’ and ‘roz’ means both ‘day’ and ‘time’. Hence, Navroz signifies ‘new day’ which is translated into ‘new year’. The origin of Nowruz can be taken 15,000 years back, moreover beyond the ice age. Read through the following lines to know about the historical background of Jamshed Navroz.
Historical Background Of Nowruz
Initially, seasons played a significant role in human history and life. Everything depended on the four seasons. After the end of the chilly winter season, spring was a great occasion to enjoy as it brought in colors. King Jamshed, also known as Yima or Yama of the Indo-Iranian lore, has been known to introduce the solar calculation in the Persian calendar. To add on, he symbolizes the transition of animal hunting to animal husbandry. Around 1725 BCE, the calendar that prevailed was lunisolar. The lunar year consisted on 354 days. The founder of the Good Religion, Zarathustra, founded an observatory and improved the calendar to make it a lunisolar year of 365 days, 5 hours and a fraction.
Eventually in the past-Gathic period, the year was transformed into a solar year with each month consisting of 30 days. Precisely, the year began with the vernal equinox. Around 12 centuries later in 487 BCE, the festival of Nowruz was celebrated by Darius the Great of the Achaemenian Dynasty at his newly constructed Persepolis in Iran. On this special day, the sunrays fell on the observatory in the great hall of audience, an event that occurs once in every 1400 years. Moreover, this occasion coincided with the Babylonian and Jewish new years. Hence, the occasion turned to be very auspicious for the ancient people. It was on this day that the Achaemenian king received the Persepolis on Nowruz.
A public audience was held by the great king and the High priest of the empire greeted him first. Gifts and presents were exchanged among the priests and government officials. This audience continues for five days, each day being allotted for people belonging to a specific profession. On the sixth day, known as the Greater Nowruz, the king held his special audience. He declared a general amnesty for convicts of minor crimes. Since then, people belonging to the Iranian culture celebrate Nowruz on the first day of the first month, that is, on 21st March. Today, Navroz is celebrated in several countries that were either territories or influenced by the Persian Empire, such as Kurds, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kashmir, parts of Middle East and by Parsis in the Indian Subcontinent.