Pateti is a festival of the Parsis and it is celebrated on the eve of New Year of the Zoroastrian calendar. Parsis or Zoroastrians are the followers of the Prophet Zarathustra. The Parsis believe on one God - Ahura Mazda. He is symbolized in the form of a sacred fire.
Parsi New Year is celebrated with traditional gaiety and fervour. Parsis wear their kusti or sacred vest. The men wear their traditional dress called dagli and the women dress up in their traditional and heirloom gara sarees. In the agiary a puja (jashan) is performed and sandalwood is offered to the fire.
As in most festivals, cleaning the house is an important activity of the New Year Day. The chowk chandan, which is rangoli stamped out of tin moulds, decorates the steps and threshold of the house. A garland on the doorway welcomes guests. A tilak is placed on the foreheads of children, new clothes are worn and elaborate menus cooked. Jashan or thanksgiving prayers are offered in fire temples and the day is spent in meeting family and friends and exchanging the traditional greeting Sal Mubarak.
Besides visiting friends and relatives, food preparation is a significant part of the Parsi New Year. It includes a wide selection of non-vegetarian dishes, fruits and nuts. Two important dishes in breakfast for the Parsi New Year are Ravo and fried Vermicelli cooked in sugar syrup and decorated with raisins. The lunch will consist of Parsi delicacies like Patra ni Macchi, Salli Boti, Mutton Palav and Dhansaak for non-vegetarians and the vegetarians can relish dishes like, Lagan nu Stew (vegetable stew), Vegetable Dhansaak, Papri No Shaak and more. The desserts will have traditional dishes like Lagan nu Custard, Doodh Pak, Suterfeni, Jalebi, Falooda and more.
Six days later, Khordad Sal is celebrated as the birthday of Prophet Zoroaster. Parsis offer worship at fire temples and make a feast of Parsi specialities.
Pateti: A day of prayers and charity
On this day, the last Gatha (day of shraddh) is spent in remembrance of one’s ancestors. Pateti is also a day of thanksgiving for the joys and sorrows of life. It is a time to offer “patet” (repentance), to atone for what is not in consonance with good thoughts, good words and good deeds. Anything that is out of accord with this is considered a sin.
The day before Navroze (Parsi New Year) is Pateti, the last day of the previous year and the day to close accounts for the year. The significance of Pateti is that it is the day to dwell on the wrongs or sins one may have committed the previous year and atoning for them.
On Pateti day Parsis visit the fire temple or agiary. The Parsis on this day promise to live with good thoughts, use good words and perform the right actions. It’s a day of prayers and charity. They reward their patet with some delicious pilaf dal, sali boti and custard feast at the end of the day. It is believed that Fravashis (souls) rejoice in delectable scents and pretty surroundings.
In the five days that precede Navroze, fire and incense burn day and night in the prayer room. Fresh flowers in consecrated silver vases, one for each ancestor remembered, are placed on white-marble-topped tables. Flowers conjoined with light, oil lamps, sandalwood fire and burning of incense creates a virtual paradise to welcome visiting fravashis. The more orthodox Parsis resign from worldly affairs and engage in lengthy prayers. Staunch followers abstain from cutting hair, shaving and paring nails for these five days.
Recipes For “Pateti”
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