Indian New Year's days
Ugadi is celebrated as New Year's Day in Karnataka and Andhra pradesh. The name Ugadi is derived from the name "Yuga Adi", which means 'the beginning of a new age'. It is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu month Chaitra, which marks the onset of spring. It is believed that Lord Brahma, the creator according to Hindu tradition, began creation on this day. Preparations begin well ahead of the festival. Houses are given a thorough cleaning, people don new clothes and special dishes are prepared, with six flavours.
Rongali Bihu or Bohag Bihu (mid-April), is celebrated as the Assamese New Year (around April 14–15) and the arrival of Spring. This marks the first day of the Hindu solar calendar. The first day of the bihu <last day of the previous year> is called goru bihu or cow bihu, where the cows are washed,smeared with ground turmeric, patted with dighalati/makhiyati, worshipped and gets new ropes. This is followed by manuh (human in Assamese) bihu on April 15,which is the Assamese New Year Day. People welcomes the spring with cleaned home, neighbourhood and dresses. The third day is Gosai (Gods) bihu when people worship statues of God, all households are cleaned and worshiped hoping for a prosperous and happy new year.
Gudhi Padwa is celebrated as New Year's Day in Maharashtra. It is celebrated on the same day as Ugadi i.e., the first day of the month Chaitra. Courtyards of rural houses are cleaned and plastered with fresh cowdung. Designs called Rangolis are drawn on doorsteps. People wear new clothes and special dishes are prepared. Lord Brahma is worshipped on this day and the gudhi, Brahma's flag (also called Brahmadhvaj), is hoisted in every house as a symbolic representation of Rama's victory over Ravana.
Puthandu, also known as Varuda pirappu, is celebrated as New Year's Day in Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated on the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai, which falls on 14 April. Women draw patterns called kolams. A lamp called a kuttuvilaku is placed on the center of the kolam, to eradicate darkness. A ritual called kanni takes place. Kanni means 'auspicious sight'. People watch jewellery, fruits, vegetables, flowers, nuts, rice etc., as it is a belief among Tamil people that it brings prosperity. People wear new clothes and special dishes are prepared for the occasion. A car festival is held at Tiruvadamarudur, near Kumbakonam.
Contrary to popular belief, Vishu (Malayalam: വിഷു) is celebrated as Malayalam New Year's Day in Kerala. Vishu falls on the first day of the Malayalam month of Medam (mid-April on the Gregorian calendar). The Malayalam New Year in Malabar used to be the 1st of Kanni and that in the Travancore region was on the 1st of Chingam. When the Government of Kerala adopted Kolla Varsham as the Regional Calendar the 1st of Chingam was accepted as the Malayalam New Year. Medom is the first month according to the astronomical calendar; it is identical with Chaitram of the Saka Varsha.
Sajibu Nongma Panba|Cheiraoba
Cheiraoba is celebrated as New Year's Day in Manipur. Sajibu Cheiraoba is an annual religious celebration in which certain rites and rituals are observed with a traditional devotion. The celebration marks the parting of the old year while welcoming the new year. The name 'Cheiraoba' is a combination of two words which have two different meanings – 'Chahi' (year) and 'laoba' (declaration). So, overall 'Cheirao-ba' means the announcement of the coming year.
Cheiraoba falls on the same day as Ugadi or Gudi Padwa.
Navreh is the lunar new year which is celebrated in Kashmir. This coincides with the first day of the Chaitra (spring) Navratras. This day finds mention in Rajtarangini and Nilamat Purana of Kashmir and is regarded as sacred in Kashmir as the Shivratri. The celebrated Arab scholar Alberuni has written that Kashmiris celebrate the second of Navaratras to commemorate victory of their greatest and famous king – Lalitaditya – with great festivity and pomp. Navreh falls on the same day as Ugadi or Cheiraoba or Gudi Padwa.
Maha vishuva Sankranti
Mahavishuva Sankranti, is celebrated as the Oriya New Year. On this day, religious people offer delicious Pana – a sweet drink made of different types of fruits, water, milk, bela, curd and sugar or jaggery - to the Tulsi Plant, Lord Shiva and Shalagram and their deities in various Temples of the state. People also drink Pana with great enjoyment. During the festival you will find water pots placed on the roadsides to help the thirsty souls. Water is as also offered to animals and birds with equal enthusiasm. This Sankraniti is also known as Pana Sankranit to Jala Sankranti.
This day is also a celebration of Hanuman Jayanti. Mahabishuda Sankranti is also significant for Jhamu Yatra and this month long festival comes to an end. Patuas (those who observe it) keep fast and wander to various places to preach the religious significance the festival of the Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Goddess Mangala. On the concluding day, these Patuas discipline their senses for more penance and walk on fire and thorns to concentrate on spirituality for the dignity and propriety of life.
Mahabishuba Sankranti generally falls on 13 or 14 April. It is possible that it is celebrated on same day as Puthandu in Tamil Nadu.
Bestu Varas is the New Year's Day for Gujaratis and falls on the day after Diwali. Traditional Gujaratis follow Vikram Samwat or Bikram Samwat. According to Hindu calendar systems, the Vikram calendar begins with the month of Baishakh/Chaitra (April), or Kartak (October/November) in Gujarat.
Bestu Baras generally falls in month of October or November. On this day, people greet each other "Nutan Varshabhinandan" (નૂતન વર્ષાભિનંદન), i.e. Happy New Year, or "Saal Mubaarak", an Urdu saying but commonly used by Gujarati people. The day starts with the heavy fire works, to welcome New Year, in the early morning as Hindus believe morning starts at 4 am. The local young boys sell raw salt (collected from Salt evaporation pond) calling it "sabras" means all taste, to make the locals' new year prosperous. Houses are decorated with torans (door hangings) made from leaves of the asopalav tree or mango tree and marigold flowers and make rangoli near the entrance to the house. The people get dressed with new clothes and visit their friends and family to greet them. Home made snacks, "Farsaan" (ફરસાણ) and sweets are offered to the guests and neighbours who come to wish the new year.
Cheti Chand is celebrated as New Year's Day by Sindhis, According to the Hindu calendar, Cheti Chand is celebrated on the second day of the Chaitra month known as Chet in Sindhi. Hence it is known as CHET-I-CHAND.
It is the second day of month chaitra i.e. a day after Ugadi and Gudi Padi.
Chaitti and Basoa/Bishu
The festivals of Chaitti and Basoa are celebrated as New Year festivals in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
Chaitti is celebrated on the first day of month of Chaitra which according to the Bikram Samwat is the first day of year. The first day of this month (Chaitra Sankranti) is considered very important and is celebrated all over the state. Chaitti is cebrated on the same day as Ugadi and Gudi Padwa.
The festival of Basoa, also known as Bishu, is celebrated on the first day of the month of Baisakh. The aboriginal and the farming folk celebrate the Basoa festival. Three days before the festival, people make little cakes with Kodra (a coarse grain) flour and wrap them up in leaves. After three days the cakes ferment, then on the morning of the festival day people invite the married daughters and other relatives and break and eat these cakes with honey and sweet water flavoured with jaggery. A ritual song is sung on this occasion.
Baisakhi Festival, also called Vaisakhi, holds great importance for the Sikh community and farmers of Punjab and Haryana. Baisakhi falls on 13 or 14 April, the first day of the second month of the year according to the Nanakshahi Calendar. Sikhs also celebrate this day in honor of their tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Baisakhi commemorates the day when the Sikh Guru eliminated caste differences and founded Khalsa Panth in 1699, at Anandpur Sahib, Punjab. The Sikh New Year as per the Sikh Nanakshahi Calendar falls on 14 March every year, with the beginning of Chet; and is marked with revered celebrations throughout the Sikh community.
However, according to the Bikrami calendar, Baisakhi marks the Punjabi New year.
Celebrated in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar pradesh with the beginning of the Hindu New Year. New Year start with 1st day of Chaitra i.e. the beginning of the Hindu New Year. According to the national calendar of India, Varsha Pratipada is the first day of the national calendar. Varsha Pratipada is also known as Gudi Padvo or Ugadi and falls at the beginning of spring on the first day of the month of Chaitra, which falls in April.
Spring or Vasanta Ritu traditionally brings optimism, hope and assurance to people about the future as it represents renewal. As Varsha Pratipada represents the beginning of a new year, it is also a time for self-reflection.
New Year and Tradition
Nationally, the day represents when the Barbaric tribes (shakas) who invaded India during the first century.
According to the national calendar of The most recent one is Shiv Shak, which began when Chhatrapati Shivaji was coronated in 321AD. The oldest one is Yudhishtir Samvat (currently in the year 5116 (2014)). Others: Mahavir Samvat (currently in the year 2521) and Shankaracharya Samvat (currently in the year 937). The most common ones are Shalivahana Samvat (started in 78 AD) and Vikram Samvat (started in 57 BC), where the New Year starts the day after Deepawali.
Traditionally, in some parts of India neem leaves are mixed with jaggery (gour) and distributed on this day. The contrast between the bitterness of neem and the sweetness of jaggery signifies the conflicting aspects of human life - joy and sorrow, success and failure, ecstasy and agony. The neem-jaggery blend is also offered to God as naivedya and then distributed as prashada.
Shalivahana and Vikramaditya
Nationally, the day represents when the barbaric tribes (shakas and huns) who invaded India during the first century were defeated by the great emperors: Shalivahan and Vikramaditya. People who had become passive suddenly came to life and became patriotic, rising to the challenge of defeating the invaders.
The aforementioned Shalivahana was the King of Satavahanas, whose capital Pratishtana was on the banks of the Godavari river (in Maharastra). The story goes that Shalivahana made clay soldiers and breathed life into them, in this way building a victorious army.
Another story says that Shalivahana worshipped the Goddess Kali, who thus represents the Hindu people rising to their heroic victory and crushing the foreign aggression of the Shakas, and so Varsha Pratipada also signifies the triumph of divinity over wickedness.
Vikramaditya, meaning the 'sun of valour' (as Surya was the son of Aditi), was famous also for his courage during the time of the aggression. The King was crowned for his supreme sense of justice, so much so that Vikramaditya Simhaasana means the 'seat of undiluted justice'.
Thus naming the new eras Shalivahana and Vikram signifies the importance in Hindu history and tradition of safeguarding the nation's freedom and sovereignty. Both these Kings inspired their people, who had become passive following invasions and oppression. The two courageous kings effectively "breathed" back life into their people, giving them the courage that they had lost and the determination to fight for their nation. These eras symbolize the important task of protecting one's nation and are still cited today.
King Upricha and the Dhwaja
Another story behind Varsha Pratipada originates in the Mahabharat. During the time of the Pandavas, the evil King Upricha had been challenged to travel up to heaven. The story goes that he was actually victorious on this day as Lord Indra had given him a Dhwaja (flag) which he was to put outside his house. Therefore, on this day, people put up a Dhwaja outside their houses during daylight hours and pray for inspiration to keep the freedom of their nation intact.
Gudi Padwa is especially dedicated to the worship of Lord Brahma, as according to the Brahma Purana this is the day when Brahma created the world. This festival is also celebrated to commemorate the victory of Shree Rama over Bali. For these reasons the Gudi, Brahma's flag (Brahma-Dhwaja), is hoisted as a symbolic representation of Shree Rama's victory and happiness on returning to Ayodhya after slaying Ravan. Since a symbol of victory is always held high, so is the Gudi.
In 2014, the Hindu new year began on 17 March.
Juir Sheetal (জুড়ি শীতল / जुड़ि शीतल) also known as Pahil Baisakh or Baisakhi or Maithili New Year is the celebration of the first day of the Maithili new year. This day usually falls on 14 April on Gregorian calendar by the Maithils in Mithila region of India and Nepal. This is also called Nirayana Mesh Sankranti or Tirhuta new year in some regions of Mithila. The festive occasion is in keeping with the Hindu solar calendar. This day falls on the 13-14th or 14–15 April and coincides with the new years of other eastern states of India. Sweets and greetings are exchanged. This day is also called Hanumat Dhwajadanam, the day Hanuman's flag (and hence Mithila's flag) is to be flown. It is also the birthday of Raja Salhesh (Shailesh - the king of Himalyas region of Mithila who won area up to Tibet) whose garden is at the Mahisautha in Siraha district headquarters of Nepal.
- Bihu Festival
- Ugadi at udipipages.com
- Ugadi at tajonline.com
- Puthandu at baisakhifestival.com
- Navreh – The new year day in Kashmir
- Chaitti and Basoa