Around this time of the year I begin to dread the sound of the words 'Happy Pateti' or 'Pateti Mubarak' trilling off the mouths of friends, well wishers and others. With every such occurrence something inside me cringes and dies a small death. I have even had the word mangled and voiced as Papeti! A papeti is a diminutive papeto, Gujarati for a small/baby potato!
I have decided that this year I have to finally do something about it ... this just cant go on!
Most non-Parsis and to my complete open-mouthed amazement even a few Parsis think that the Parsi word for New Year is Pateti. Let me lay down the law for all of you here. The correct word for New Year or New Year's day is Navroze, and the correct greeting is Navroze Mubarak.
So then where does this word Pateti come from?
Pateti is the last day of the Parsi year. The day before Navroze. It is not a day of celebration but a day of intense introspection and a day when you go over your deeds of the last year and repent those that you realise did not conform to the Parsi credo- Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds. A day you make amends with your self and your Maker, and promise that you will do better in the coming year. This may be done at home or at a fire temple. Many an old school Parsi will go to the local Agiary to do this.
The devout Parsi thus performs Patet on this day. He/she accepts his/her shortcomings, shows a readiness to accept the judgement for the same, and most importantly makes a resolution not to make the same mistakes in the coming year.
Thus unburdened of these misdeeds you make a fresh start with the next day and the New Year - Navroze!
And just like Good Friday and Moharram you don't wish someone on such a day.
So this year do it right, wish your Parsi friend a Happy Navroze.
Navroze Mubarak to all! And may this year bring you peace, prosperity and happiness.