New Beginnings; Old Traditions – Indian New Year

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    “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.”

    MAHATMA Gandhi

    India, a land of enormously diverse cultures and traditions has its own quirky ways to celebrate every occasion. As the 2019 draws to an end, the world, and its citizens, along with Indian People, will awaken to a new year, that surely will bring prosperity and joy. The Gregorian Calendar, which ends at 31st December, marks the celebration of New Year’s Eve all around the world, thanks to the predominant Christian society. But our nation, with its beautifully varied heritage, has a multitude of festivals marking the welcoming of new year.

    Vikram Samwat – Indian New Year

    The Indian traditional calendar, The Vikram-Samwat calendar, named after the much famous King Vikramaditya, ruler of Ujjain, who started this calendar, is a Lunisolar calendar that makes moon cycles along with solar months as the basis for dating.

    • According to Vikram-Samwat, hindu new year, usually, nation wide, begins in the month of Chaitra, that usually falls around March-April, according to the Gregorian Calendar, with the beginning of Chaitra Navratri.
    • The Indian people, celebrate the new year with a myriad of festivals, all around the peninsula, that usually come around the harvesting season, for India has always been an Agro-based economy.

    Ugadi – Telangana New Year

    Indian New year

    The states of dazzling Deccan, like Telangana, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, celebrate the new year in the form of Ugadi. This festival, usually falls in the month of March-April, according to Gregorian calendar and in Chaitra, according to Vikram-Samwat.

    • Kolambus (beautiful Rangolis) are made on the floor, and Mango leaf decorations, called toran are hung.
    • Special festive food called Pacchadi is prepared that combines all flavors – sweet, sour, salty, bitter. In the Kannada and Telugu Hindu traditions, it is a symbolic reminder that one must expect all flavors of experiences in the coming new year and make the most of them.
    • Ugadi 2020 is on Wednesday,25th March.

     

    Gudi Padwa – Maharashtraian New Year

    Ugadi’s Maharashtrian sister festival, Gudi Padwa is celebrated by the Hindus and other communities of Maharashtra and Konkan region. It marks the day Lord Bhrama created the universe.

    • People hand ‘Gudhi’ that symbolizes the Brahmadhvaj (translation: Brahma’s flag) mentioned in the Brahma Purana.
    • People of Maharashtra also make dishes such as shrikhand and Poori or Puran Poli on this day.

    Puthandu – Tamil New Year

    Indian New year

    Puthandu, which is also known as Puthuvarusham, is the new year celebration of the state of Tamilnadu, also is characterised by the making of beautiful Rangolis. It too falls in the month of Chaitra, hence is also called Chittirai Vishu in parts of southern Tamilnadu. 

    •  A major celebration is held in the Meenakshi Temple of Madurai, called “Chitterai Thiruvizha”. People here too eat a much similar dish to Pacchadi called, Mangai Pachadi.
    • The state of Kerala, celebrates Vishu, a similar festival for new year.
    • Puthandu 2020 is on Tuesday,14th April.

    Baisakhi – Punjabi New Year

    Baisakhi Indian New year

    The prosperous state of Punjab commemorates its new year with the celebration of Baisakhi. The land of five rivers celebrate this festival as the birth of Khalsa, on 14th of April. People dance on drum beats, visit gurudwaras and a huge celebration is held at Golden Temple that is spectacle to be seen. Baisakhi 2020 is on Monday,13th April.

    Cheri Chand – Sindhi New Year

    Cheti Chand Indian New year

    The Sindhi community celebrates its new year as Cheti Chand that falls on the first day of Chaitra month. Prayers of Lord Jhulelal are sung. Sweets are exchanged and charities are made. Cheti Chand 2020 is on Thursday,20th March.

    Bohag Bihu – North India New Year

    Indian New year

    The biggest sister of the seven sisters of North East, Assam, celebrates its new year as ‘Bohag Bihu’ a colourful, musical festival that marks the beginning of Agriculture season, falling in the auspicious season of spring.

    • It is the most important festival of thte state and attracts tourism from all around the world. Lasting for almost a week, the festival actually contains seven different festivals celebrated each day if the week. 
    • Pithas are exchanged by the families and people dance the traditional bihu dance.
    • Starting on Tuesday,14th April and ends Monday 20th April.

    Bengal New Year

    The land of literature and intellect, Bengal celebrates its new year, Pohela Baishokh, in the mid of month of April. Literally translating as the first day of Baisakh (the lunisolar month that falls almost around April) this festival was actually started in the time of Mughal Emperor, Akbar  who introduced new calendar in Bengal, that would start from Baisakh, to reduce agricultural tax.

    Indian New year

    • People of Bengali descent all around the world celebrate this festival irrespective of their caste, religion.
    • The sikkimese people celebrate their new year as Losoong which comes in the month of December and is characterised with dances and serving of hot sweet dishes.
    • Falling on the first day of Chaitra Navratri, the Kashmiris celebrate their new year as Navroh.
    • Pohela BaishokhT is on 14th April 2020.

    Our Indian culture, is as vivid as the oceans of the world. And truly it’s beauty lies in its much varied and colourful diversity.

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