Regional celebrations to usher spring
For conventional New Year revelers it might get confusing, but practically every Indian state and community has its own traditional way of ushering in the start of the New Year. So, come April, communities across the country from Assam to Maharashtra and Punjab to Tamil Nadu celebrate the advent of spring and auspicious new beginnings.
Yugadi Habbada Shubhashayagalu
Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar. Celebrated with fervor on April 11 in both states, the day marks Lord Brahma’s creation of the universe. People spring-clean their homes and buy new clothes for the occasion, chanting mantras and making predictions for the New Year. Traditionally, the panchangasravanam or listening to the yearly calendar was done at temples or in the town square but today most people make do by listening to scholarly priests on televisions.
Kavi Sammelanam (poetry recitation) is a typical Telugu Ugadi feature. Many poets use the day to recite their new works on subjects ranging from politics and modern trends to changing lifestyles
Symbolism of Ugadi pachchadi
This is a traditional dish synonymous with Ugadi. The eating of a specific mixture of six tastes called Ugadi Pachhadi in Telugu and Bevu-Bella in Kannada, symbolizes the fact that life is a mixture of different experiences such as sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise.
Life is about accepting these circumstances with equanimity, and what better day to start than the New Year? Typically the dish is an exotic mixture of bitter neem buds or flowers indicating sadness, jaggery and ripe banana signifying happiness, spicy green chilly or pepper implying anger, salt representing fear and tart tamarind juice signifying disgust.
Gudhi padvyachya hardik shubhechcha
Ugadi is also an auspicious day for Maharashtrians. Gudhi Padwa that will be celebrated on April 11 in Maharashtra marks the advent of spring. Colorful rangoli decorations and bright gudhis mark this auspicious day.
The gudi is a pole topped by an upturned brass or silver pot or kalash. The gudi is covered with a colorful red or green silk cloth and decorated with marigold flowers, coconuts and mango leaves to symbolize nature’s bounty. Puran poli, soonth pak and usal are traditional delicacies prepared on the day. Most people start the day with a paste of crushed neem leaves, cumin seeds, jaggery and salt
Cheti Chand, thanksgiving Sindhi style
The Sindhi community celebrates their New Year, Cheti Chand on April 11 as well. Cheti Chand is observed as the birthday of Jhulelal, the patron saint of Sindhis. On the occasion Varuna, the water god is worshipped with rituals and devotional music.
On the day, many Sindhis carry Baharana Sahib in a nearby river or lake. Baharana Sahib consists of an assortment of things like an oil lamp, crystal sugar, cardamom, fruits, flowers and a coconut.
Vishukani in Kerala
Vishu that falls on April 14 this year marks the first day in the first month of Medam in Kerala. Malyalees start the day by visiting the temple and seeing an auspicious sight, Vishukani. The day is full of the elaborate traditional rituals with tokens called Vishukaineetam, usually in the form of coins that are distributed among the poor.
People wear new clothes, kodi vastram, and celebrate the day by bursting firecrackers and enjoying delicacies at an elaborate lunch called sadya with family and friends. The afternoon and evening is spent at the Vishuwela, an elaborate fair complete with music, dance and decorated elephants.
Puthandu Vazthukal in Tamil Nadu
In Tamil Nadu too the New Year will be celebrated on April 14, the first day of the month of Chaitra. Varsha Pirappu or the New Year starts by viewing auspicious things such as gold, silver, jewelry, new clothes, a new calendar, a mirror, rice, coconuts, fruits and fresh produce.
This is followed by a ritualistic bath and almanac worship called Panchanga Puja. The traditional puthandu meal consists of pachadi, a mixture of bitter-sweet, salty and sour flavors and sweet payasam.
Joyous Baisakhi in Punjab
Baisakhi, the harvest festival that will be celebrated on April 14 marks the Punjabi New Year. The day is celebrated Punjabi style with joyous bhangra and giddha being performed to the pounding beat of the dhol.
Baisakhi also marks the founding of the Khalsa brotherhood by the Sikh Guru Govind Singh. Colorful Baiskahi fairs are organized in many cities and the revelry continues till late at night, ending with a grand feast of delicacies like sarson ka saag, pindi channa, biryani and gajar ka halwa.
Poila Baisakh and Bihu
West Bengal ushers the Bengali New Year, Poila Baisakh on April 15. The day also marks Bihu festivities in the north-eastern state of Assam. The occasion marks the quaint tradition of wearing gem-studded rings to appease the stars and planets and praying to Goddess Lakshmi to confer wealth and prosperity.
In the run up to this joyous day, Bengalis throng bookstalls to book copies of Panjika, the Bengali yearlong handbook that details festival timings, favorable days, auspicious dates for anything from weddings and housewarmings to journeys and new business dealings. Meanwhile Bohang Bihu or Rongali Bihu celebrated in Assam marks the onset of a new agricultural cycle. Girls decked in traditional attire sing Bihugeets and dance the traditional Mukoli Bihu.
Picture Credits :www.karunamayi.org | cooking4allseasons.blogspot.com | idiva.com | http://www.celebrateindia.com | yourstastefully.blogspot.com | http://kothamally.com |www.funonline.in | www.tripp.in