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  • Date :
  • 3/7/2012

NOWRUZ IN THE PRE-ISLAMIC PERIOD

(part 17)

norooz

The Iranis were meantime sending bright boys from lay and priestly families to be educated in Mumbai, among whom was Kay Khosrow Shahrokh, a remarkable man from a traditionally learned Kermani lay family.  He became an ardent reformist of his ancient faith, and among much elese a champion of the Fasli calendar. He convinced Tehranis of its validity, and also the lay leaders of the Zoroastrians of Yazd and Kerman, and in 1939, after years of reasoning and exhorting, the reformers persuaded the whole Irani community to adopt the Faل¹£li calendar.  This they renamed Bastani, “ancient”‌ (convinced, like K. R. Cama, that it went back to Zoroaster himself), and called the old one – Qadimi to the Parsis – Na-dorost, “Incorrect”‌, while the traditionalists named the Faل¹£li calendar Jadid, “new”‌ and used the term Qadim for their own.  The greatest achievement had been to win over Yazd, but many Zoroastrians there remained troubled by the thought that they were doing wrong in using this alien form of reckoning for calculating their holy days; and almost at once, led by their priests, they reverted to the Qadimi one.  So for the next few decades the small Irani community was split, with most Yazdis celebrating three Nowruzes as before, Dadgah-e panji and Havzoru in the summer, Nowruz in the spring, while the Tehranis and Kermanis now kept only the last.  (See Boyce, Stronghold, index s.v. “calendar”‌. Idem, 1979, pp. 212-13, 221.)

In the 1970’s the reformists in Tehran made a concerted effort to win over the Yazdis by targeting their young people, to whom, in holiday camps, they offered instruction in various secular callings as well as a fundamentally reformed religious teaching, with many old doctrines as well as observances swept away, and the merits and claimed antiquity of the Fasli calendar vigorously urged.

 This time they were lastingly successful, and thereafter the Irani community has used only the one, Faل¹£li calendar, with Nowruz celebrated on March 21st.  Efforts have continued among the Parsis to win greater acceptance of the Faل¹£li calendar, but these have so far been resisted, and both the SHahanshahis and the Kadmis still celebrate the two religious Nowruzes, though mostly with reduced rites. Supporters by family tradition of all there groups are to be found in the Parsi Diaspora communities.


Other Links:

Persian Cuisine, a Brief History (part 2)  

Iranian Girl Names (part 2)   

Iranian Girl Names (part 3)   

Astrology & Astronomy in Iran and Ancient Mesopotamia (part 2) 

Astrology & Astronomy in Iran and Ancient Mesopotamia (part 3)  

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