New year festivals in India

Sunday, April 10, 2016 by Swapna Rajput
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Hindus around the world celebrates many festivals every year.  When I visited abroad people said, ‘You Indians spend so much on wedding and festivals, its awesome!’ We will discuss about other festivals and weddings some other time. Here I would like to share some important information on why do we celebrate so many new years. 

1st January is New Year as per western calendar, which is celebrated by the whole world.  

Sankranti 14th January - Sankranti celebrated as new year. Sankranti means transmigration of the Sun. On this day, the Sun migrates from Aries or Mesha rashi, the first zodiac sign, so its celebrated as New Year. However, there are 12 Sankranti’s in a year for 12 zodiac signs.

In Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujrat, it is celebrated as Sankranti. In south people celebrate it by drawing Rangoli’s in front of the door and decorate the doors with mango leaves, preparing Bhakri (round bread from Jawar) and spicy mixed vegetables on Bhogi Day, One day before Sankranti, probably on 13th January. Sankranti day they prepare sweet dishes (desert after previous day spicy food) and exchange Tilgul (Sugar balls) for the sweet harmony of relationship for the whole year, fly kites in the sky. This is also known as festival of farmers, they celebrate this festival as it is the time of harvesting. In Tamil Nadu –its called Pongal, celebrated with sweet dish prepared by rice called Pongal. Odisha, Bengal, Assam also celebrates this festival as per their solar sidereal calendar. In the same time Punjab celebrates Lohri, by lighting fire in the cold temperature and dancing around to celebrate the passing of winter as it is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. 

Ugaadi / Gudi Padwa - It is celebrated as new year in the beginning of Chaitra Mas, Mid-March to Mid April, it is first month as per Samvatsar (Vikram Samvatsar calendar details written in my book- Amazing Legends of India) calendar. Its a Luni-Solar calendar considering position of moon and sun.  between This festival is celebrated as Yugaadi or Ugaadi in Karnataka, Andhra, Telangana and Maharashtra. It is known as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra. As other Hindu festivals people draw Rangoli in front of the door and decorate the doors with Mango and Neem leaves along with flowers. People eat Neem and Jaggery to forget all the bitter moments and remember the sweet moments of the year. The day begins with oil bathing; with water soaked in neem leaves (logically for cooling the body temperature in the beginning of summer), followed by prayers and Puja.

North Indians don’t celebrate this festival but on the same day they start the Chaitra Navratri to worship goddess Durga for nine days and nights (Other popular Navratri is celebrated in Dussera during the mid-October to mid-November every year) and they also eat Neem and Mishri (rock candy). In the same time Punjab celebrates Baisakhi. 

Vishu- Another New Year festival celebrated in India by people of South coastal region specially in Kerala and Tulunadu (South Karnataka coastal region). Vishu is all about buying new clothes, tradition of giving money and preparation of feast with equal proportions of salty, sweet, sour and bitter items as an offering to the almighty Lord Krishna. People also offer various fruits and other sweet items etc., to the almighty for prosperity. Fire crackers are also most important part of this festival, in the morning and on the evening, children enjoy setting off firecrackers. This festival is celebrated according to Malyalam calender Medam usually in the second week of April every year.

Diwali- The grand Hindu festival Diwali / Deepavali is celebrated on the victory of good over evil, its started in Treta yug, after the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya by defeating evil Ravana. People celebrate this festival for five days, which include Dhanteras buying gold and new items, Narak Chathurti, to celebrate the victory of Lord Krishna on evil king Narakasur, main puja of goddess Laxmi is done on the third day of Diwali, which is also known as her birthday, she emerged from Samudra Manthan on this day. Businessmen start new account of the year on this day, to please the goddess of good luck and prosperity so its also celebrated as new year, fourth day is Bali padyami or Padwa, on this day Lord Vishnu has sent Asura king Bali to Pataal by taking Vaman avatar, fifth day is Bhai dooj, brothers and sisters celebrate this day. 

All these days, people take oil bath early morning before sunrise, do puja and prayers, wear brand new traditional clothes, greet each other with sweets and gifts. Elders give gifts to younger. worship gods in the evening and they decorate the twinkling lights and diyas around the house, windows, doors (Logically its to keep the house warm during the cold days) in the night and crackle the fireworks.

These are some famous Hindu new year festivals celebrated in our country.

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  1. I never knew about the festival of the new year but it sounds interesting that you people celebrate it with so much enthusiasm. Please share some more pics and details about the occasion and celebrations.

    1. Thank you for your comment. These are only New year festivals. However, there are hundreds of other festivals we celebrate apart from these. I would surely share few more pictures.


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