Jamshedpur : It was a day of happiness and devotion at the Fire Temple here on Wednesday. Clad in traditional attire, members of the Parsee community celebrated Jamshed-e-Navroze, the Parsee New Year, by conducting special prayers, greeting each other and enjoying delicacies.
Dressed in their best, the men arrived at the temple donning the traditional Saturn or velvet caps while the women wrapped scarves around their heads. Irrespective of age, Parsees greeted each other saying “Navroze mubarak”.
As part of the celebrations, prayers were offered to seek the well-being of community members. This apart, special thanksgiving prayers were offered followed by ‘open house’ for the community people to enjoy traditional delicacies, including the Parsee desert Falooda.
In the evening, special celebrations including cultural programmes were organised at the Parsee Hostel premises.
However for the Parsee community of Jamshedpur, the dwindling population in the city remains the major concern. The members of the community while celebrated New Year, Navroz, said that there was urgent need to give a thought to this burning issue.
The alarming situation can be sensed from the fact that two decades before there were around 600 families residing in the city but now the numbers have been reduced to mere 200- 250 members. The practitioners of the world’s oldest organised religion are left in few in numbers.
The decline in the Parsee population worldwide is marked by an excess of deaths over births and a falling birth rate.
However, the senior members of the community feel that the declining population in the city is due to migration for greener pastures and out of community marriage.
When contacted, an official of Jamshedpur Parsee Association (JPA) said that the dwindling population remains the concern worldwide. However the numbers have reduced significantly in the city.
“Parsees, neither men nor women generally marry at an early age. They aspire to get higher education and establish themselves in a profession before considering marriage. The average age of marriage is the mid-30s. This is also one of the prime reasons for low birthrate,” said another member of the community.
Meanwhile Jamshedpur Parsee Association (JPA) celebrated the New Year with pomp and fanfare.
From hosting cultural programmes to rich Parsee cuisine, the celebration provided a platform for interaction and entertainment. The Parsees presented traditional dances and skit. The celebrations began with religious prayer sessions, called ‘Jashan’, at the Fire Temple.