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Indian Heritage & Culture

Traditional New Year Festivals

  • 14 Apr 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

The Vice President of India greeted the people on festivals ‘Chaitra Sukladi, Gudi Padwa, Ugadi, Cheti Chand, Vaisakhi, Vishu, Puthandu, and Bohag Bihu’.​

  • These festivals of the spring season mark the beginning of the traditional new year in India.

Key Points

  • Chaitra Sukladi:
    • It marks the beginning of the new year of the Vikram Samvat also known as the Vedic [Hindu] calendar.
    • Vikram Samvat is based on the day when the emperor Vikramaditya defeated Sakas, invaded Ujjain and called for a new era.
    • Under his supervision, astronomers formed a new calendar based on the luni-solar system that is still followed in the northern regions of India.
    • It is the first day during the waxing phase (in which the visible side of moon is getting bigger every night) of the moon in the Chaitra (first month of Hindu calendar).
  • Gudi Padwa and Ugadi:
    • These festivals are celebrated by the people in the Deccan region including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
    • The common practice in the celebrations of both the festivals is the festive food that is prepared with a mix of sweet and bitter.
    • A famous concoction served is jaggery (sweet) and neem (bitter), called bevu-bella in the South, signifying that life brings both happiness and sorrows.
    • Gudi is a doll prepared in Maharashtrian homes.
      • A bamboo stick is adorned with green or red brocade to make the gudi. This gudi is placed prominently in the house or outside a window/ door for all to see.
    • For Ugadi, doors in homes are adorned with mango leaf decorations called toranalu or Torana in Kannada.
  • Cheti Chand:
    • Sindhis celebrate the new year as Cheti Chand. Chaitra month is called 'Chet' in Sindhi.
    • The day commemorates the birth anniversary of Uderolal/Jhulelal, the patron saint of Sindhis.
  • Navreh:
    • It is the lunar new year that is celebrated in Kashmir.
      • It is the Sanskrit word ‘Nav-Varsha’ from where the word ‘Navreh’ has been derived.
    • It falls on the first day of the Chaitra Navratri.
    • On this day, Kashmiri pandits look at a bowl of rice which is considered as a symbol of riches and fertility.
  • Vaishakhi:
    • It is also pronounced as Baisakhi, observed by Hindus and Sikhs.
    • It marks the beginning of Hindu Solar New year.
    • It commemorates the formation of Khalsa panth of warriors under Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.
    • Baisakhi was also the day when colonial British empire officials committed the Jallianwala Bagh massacre at a gathering, an event influential to the Indian movement against colonial rule.
  • Vishu:
    • It is a Hindu festival celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala, Tulu Nadu region in Karnataka, Mahé district of Union Territory of Pondicherry, neighbouring areas of Tamil Nadu and their diaspora communities.
    • The festival marks the first day of Medam, the ninth month in the solar calendar followed in Kerala.
    • It therefore always falls in the middle of April in the Gregorian calendar on 14th or 15th April every year.
  • Puthandu:
    • Also known as Puthuvarudam or Tamil New Year, is the first day of the year on the Tamil calendar and traditionally celebrated as a festival.
    • The festival date is set with the solar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar, as the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai.
    • It therefore falls on or about 14th April every year on the Gregorian calendar.
  • Bohag Bihu:
    • Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu also called Xaat Bihu (seven Bihus) is a traditional aboriginal ethnic festival celebrated in the state of Assam and other parts of northeastern India by the indigenous ethnic groups of Assam.
    • It marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year.
    • It usually falls in the 2nd week of April, historically signifying the time of harvest.

Source:PIB

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