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.