Gudi Padwa, Baisakhi, Ugadi, Diwali are just one of the 12 or more New Year’s celebrated in India.
In a culturally diverse place like India, there are many different and diverse festivals, and yet a common festival with different dates – i.e. the New Year. Though the world normally celebrates January 1st as New Year’s Day; India has a host of New Years’ which it celebrates throughout the year.
People from different communities have certain days in the year that they consider as their New Year. Generally New Year is celebrated in different states of India at the time of harvesting of crops, this is the same day which celebrate at other regions of India with different name as Gudi Padwa, Ugadi (Telgu), Cheti Chand and Cheiraoba (Manipur) all on April 8 and soon thereafter Baisakhi, also known as Vaisakhi on April 13.
Today we have listed around 12 New Years that are celebrated in India, which fall indifferent intervals.
Ugadi or the Telugu New Year: Ugadi marks the beginning of a new year for the Telegu and Kannada community. It falls on the first day of the Chaitra Month (March – April), the dates may vary from year to year. The name Ugadi is derived from the name “Yuga Adi”, which means ‘the beginning of a new age’. People in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka states in South India believe that Lord Brahma began the creation of the universe on this auspicious day of Ugadi. People prepare for the New Year by cleaning and washing their houses and buying new clothes. For food, special dishes are prepared, with six flavours infused.
Gudi Padwa: This day is celebrated mostly by Maharastians and Konkanis, it is popular in both Maharashtra and Goa. On the morning of the first day of the Chaitra month, people finish their ablutions, wear new clothes and decorate their houses with colorful “rangoli” patterns. A silk banner is raised and worshipped, and greetings and sweets are exchanged. A Gudi is a bright yellow cloth tied to the tip of a long bamboo and copper pot or silver vessel placed in inverted on it along with a sugar garland. Lord Brahma is worshipped on this day ; Brahma’s flag (also called Brahmadhvaj), is hoisted in every house as a symbolic representation of Rama’s victory over Ravana. Delicacies prepared on this day are Shrikand Puri and Puran Poli in Maharashtrian households and Kanangachi Kheer in Konkani households.
Cheti Chand: The Sindhi community celebrate this day as their New Year. It takes place on the second day of the Chaitra month. It is very auspisious for them and holds a special significance as Lord Jhulelal, , the patron saint of the Sindhis was born on this day. On this day, Sindhis worship Varuna, the water god and observe a number of rituals followed by feasts and devotional music, such as bhajans and aartis.
Baisakhi: Celebrated with great pomp and splendour among the Sikhs, it is their harvest festival. Baisakhi marks the founding of the Khalsa brotherhood by Sikh Guru Govind Singh. Punjab celebrates Baisakhi on April 13 as the mark of a New Year. And, according to the Nanakshahi, the year starts on March 21. People celebrate this joyous occasion by performing Bhangra and Giddha to the pounding rhythm of the dhol and rings in the New Year. The main celebration takes place at the birth place of the Khalsa and at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, at Talwandi
Parsi New Year: The Parsis celebrate two different new years in the year. Ancient Zoroastrians used Achaemind Calendar, which celebrated the vernal equinox on March 21 as Navroz. While the Shehanshahi Parsis follow a slightly different calender which leads them to celebrate a new year in August. Saali Boti, Dhansak or Paatra Ni Machchi are the delicacies made on this day along with the sweets.
Bengali New Year: Pohela Boishakh (April 14) is the Nabo Barsho of Bengal and is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm. Cultural programs are organised on this day. People go out to shop, prayers are offered in temples. It is also considered as auspicious time for marriages. People clean and decorate their houses and invoke Goddess Lakshmi, the bestower of wealth and prosperity. All new enterprises begin on this auspicious day, as businessmen open their fresh ledgers with “Haal Khata”- a ceremony in which Lord Ganesha is summoned and customers are invited to settle all their old dues and offered free refreshments. It is also celebrated by the tribals in the hilly areas of Tripura, the Bengalis of Assam, Jharkand and Orrisa too observe it. . The traditional greeting for Bengali New Year is ‘Shubho Noboborsho’.
Bestu Varas: Gujarati New Year: It is the beginning of the harvest season. It is celebrated as Gujarati New Year on the day after Diwali along with religious rituals and traditions. Marwaris of Rajasthan celebrate Diwali as a new year, the most auspicious day to start new things. The day starts with the heavy fire works, to welcome New Year. 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” and sweets are offered to the guests and neighbor who come to wish the new year.
Hijri- Islamic New Year: The Islamic year starts on the first day of Muharram. The Islamic calendar does not align with the Gregorian calendar so the date for Islamic New Year or Muharram vary as per lunar calendar. The New Year is celebrated with long standing customs & traditions for incoming spring.
Navreh – Kashmiri New Year: Navreh the lunar New Year is celebrated as New Year in Kashmir with great enthusiasm and sanctity. It’s fall on first day of Chaitra Navratri and is regarded as sacred in Kashmir as the Shivratri of Kashmir.
Losoong or Sikkimese New Year: The Losoong is one of the most popular and old age festival of Sikkim, celebrated on month of December. It marks the end of harvesting season and the New Year for people of Sikkim. Losoong is also known as ‘Sonam Losar’ the farmer’s New Year, Chham dance is one of the major attraction of festival.
Vishu: – Vishu is celebrated as the Malayalam New Year in Kerala, in the first month of Medam, The Malayalees – begin the day early in the morning by visiting the temple and seeing any auspicious sight, which they call “Vishukani.” Vishukani means – the first object viewed in the morning. The day is full of the elaborate traditional rituals with tokens called “Vishukaineetam”, usually in form of coins, being distributed among the poor. ‘Kodi vastram’ (new clothes) are worn. An family lunch called ‘sadya’ is enjoyed with the family.
Puthadu or Varsha Pirappu: This is the Tamil New Year. The traditional Tamil New Year starts on mid-April either on 13 or 14 April, or first day of Tamil month Chithirai. People wish each other “Puthandu Vazthukal” which means Happy New Year and Chitterai Thiruvizha is celebrated in the Meenakshi Temple of Madurai. The main food of this festival is Mangai Pachadi, made of raw mangoes, jaggery and neem flowers . On the eve of Puthandu, every household is thoroughly cleaned and tastefully decorated – the doorways are garlanded with mango leaves strung together and Vilakku Kolam decorative patterns adorn the floors. Traditional Puthandu meals consists of pachadi – a mixture of jaggery, chillies, salt, neem leaf or flowers, and tamarind; green banana and jackfruit preparation and a variety of sweet ‘payasam’ dessert.