Thursday, April 15, 2010

Indian New Year

Courtsey-Google Images

It is not easy to define India, Indians, religions of India, Indian languages (yes, they are languages and not dialect, every language has different script/alphabets) and also Indian new year.

We all know and celebrate (almost all Indians of recent generations) transition into a new year on the eve of 31st December to 1st January every year.  But like China, India also have its own new year celebrations.

Government offices, Private offices, Banks, Hospitals, Schools in India are run according to English calendar, but marriages, naming ceremonies, Indian festivals and rituals are followed according to Indian calendars. 

But when it comes to a date for Indian new year, unlike Chinese new year they are at different months at different regions of India.

In general we gather up from middle of March to middle of April each year to celebrate our own regional new years.

One thing that binds all these new years is harvest season. Almost all over India month of March and April are time for harvesting crops from the fields and new year celebrations are a kind of saying thanks to the mother earth and enjoying the good harvest of that year (may be similar to the motto of Thanksgiving in Northern America).

New Year is celebrated in different states of India under various names
  • Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka
  • Gudi Padva in Maharashtra. 
  • The Sindhis celebrate it as Cheti chand
  • Bengalis celebrate the Poila Baishakh festival
  • It is called Navreh in Kashmir
  • In the north the Assamese bring in the new year with the  Bihu festival
  • Puthandu  in Tamil Nadu
  • Vishu in Kerala
  • The Punjabis get light up camp fires with Baisakhi.
  • The Nepalese however bring in the new year in the third week of March
  • It is called Nowruz by persians 
  • People in Manipur call it, Cheiraoba.
Actually India has remained a country of immigrants and the whole country was a group of small independent kingdoms, before british came to form a colony in India.

Different kinds of calendars were followed (solar, lunisolar or  mathematical) in these different kingdoms. So although all these kingdoms united to become one independent entity against British Raj and became a country which we call India today, but some colourful diversities of those kingdoms remained as special holidays in different part of  united India, as a salute to those rich kingdoms of past and to enjoy different kinds of harvests in different parts of India at this particular time of the year.

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