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iXiGOers Apr 09 2013

What are the various regional New Years of India?

Kapil Gumasta Apr 09 2013
1 person found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

The enthusiasm and joy that accompany the welcoming of a new year is something common to all regions of India. But the way of celebration and the name and the time of the New Year festivals are unique depending upon regions, religions and communities. The best part is that you will have the option of celebrating more than one New Year in a year.

1. Ugadi

Ugadi or Yugadi is derived from the Sanskrit word yuga and adi which can be literally translated as age and beginning respectively. This year Ugadi falls on the 11th April ( according to the lunisolar calendar the Hindus follow). The festival is celebrated with much gusto and revelry in the Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. For extended family members, this is an occasion to come together and welcome a new year. 

The day begins with a ritual of oil bath and prayers after that. Lunch is a lavish affair which include a unique preparation known as Bevu-Bella in Kannada and Ugadi Pachhadi in Telegu. This is basically a mixture of six different vegetables and fruits, signifying six different taste and hence, different experiences of life. Apart from these, Bobbatlu in Andhra Pradesh and Obbatu in Karnataka are cooked specially for this occasion. Meal is followed by a gathering where elders will read out the year’s almanac.

2. Gudi Padwa

Gudi Padwa is the New Year festival of Maharashtra. It falls on the same day as the festival of Ugadi as this festival is also celebrated according to the lunisolar calendar. The most prominent part of the celebration is the hoisting of gudi, a stick decorated with a bright yellow or green cloth, sugar, neem leaves, mango twig, red flowers and a small copper pot placed on top of the stick in an inverted position. The significance of the gudi has many versions. According to one, gudi is associated with the flag of Brahma and thus, gudi padwa is the day when the Lord created the universe. Another ties it up with the Maratha warrior Shivaji.

Cleaning the house, courtyard and making rangoli is a part of the ceremony after which all the family members take leaves of neem grounded with jaggery. Delicacies like Poori and shrikhand is also prepared on this day.

3. Puthandu

A joyous occasion for the people of Tamil Nadu, Puthandu is a festival of new beginnings. The celebration involves a grand exhibition in the famous Meenakshi Temple. Houses are decorated with kolams and many dishes are cooked, resulting in a huge feasts for the family. In some Tamil communities, mangoes and neem flowers are used in the ceremony. This year the festival will be celebrated on the 14th of April.

4. Pohela Boishakh

Pohela Boishakh is celebrated in Bengal and is the New Year festival of the Bengali Hindu community. This year the date of celebration falls on the 14th of April. The festivities begin much earlier than the day of Pohela Boishakh (almost a month before) and the markets and shops are thronged by customers buying new clothes for the festive season.

On the New Year day, the celebration starts with the procession of Probhat Pheri. Young man and women in  traditional Bengali attire join the celebration and welcome the new year with prayers. The day is considered to be auspicious and because of this, you will see new businesses being set up on this day. Besides all these, a famous fair known as  Bangla Sangit Mela is organised by the government of the state at Nandan-Rabindra Sadan ground.

5. Bihu

The celebration of Bihu or Rongali Bihu in Assam goes on for seven days and it differs from place to place. The unique part of this Assamese New Year festival is the fact that it begins from the last day of the ending year. Known as Goru Bihu, the first day of the festival is marked with the rituals of cow worship. Cattle are bathe and smeared with turmeric paste and their ropes are changed. The second day or the New Year day is Manuh Bihu. On this day, children wear new clothes and blessed by elders. Gifts of gamosa are presented to the elders on this day. This day also marks the beginning of the Hosuri singing.

People use ‘mah and haldhi’ for bathing and put aside the factory made soap bars for a day. Bihu performance takes place all across the state and perhaps the most popular one happens at Rabindra Bhawan in Guwahati.  

6. Vishu Festival

Celebrated by Hindus of Kerala, this New Year festival marks the beginning of Kolla Varsham, the Malayalam calendar. One of the most important part of the celebration involves the Vishukanni ( the first thing that one should see after waking up on the morning of Vishu festival). This is a particular arrangement for rituals associated with the festival. It auspicious things used for this include lemon, rice, cucumber, betel nuts, konna flowers, a lighted lamp, coins and holy text among other things. 

According to tradition, on the morning of the festival, one should wake up with closed eyes, go to the puja room and open his or her eyes only when it is sure that Vishukkani is the first sight that will be seen. After this ceremony, pages from the Ramayanam are read, feast consisting of foods of different tastes are is organised and elders give money, known as Vishukkaineetam to children.

7. Sajibu Cheiraoba

Celebrated according to the Meitei lunar calendar of Manipur, Sajibu Cheiraoba falls on the first day of Sajibu ( the first month of the Meitei calendar). On this particular day, houses and courtyards are clean and kept tidy. At the entrance of every house, a patch of ground is cleared and sometimes decorated for the rituals. A lavish lunch is organised with lots of local delicacies and dishes and when the preparation is completed, offerings are made to the gods on the cleared patch. Lunch is followed by a tradition of a trek up to the nearest hillock.

India is a land of unity in diversity and nothing exemplifies it better than its numerous New Years. So, check out the dates and go for a celebration-spree!

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