Each year during childhood as we sent and purchased the Diwali Greeting Cards I was fascinated by this particular greeting, “Wishing you a Happy Diwali and a Prosperous New Year. I often wondered as to why the New Year was wished along with Diwali. As far as I knew the New Year was celebrated on the 1st of January always.
I let it pass taking for granted that people didn’t want to spend sending cards twice ( once for Diwali and second time for New Year) so combined the two. Then as I was growing up I realized that the New Year for various communities came at different times. Majority of them are celebrated around March-April as per their solar or lunar calendars which didn’t have too much relevance to the calendar from January till December.
The New Year Greetings were basically meant for a particular Hindu community which celebrates their New Year just after Diwali. The myth was undone and here I share with you the various New Year days celebrated by different Hindu communities as per my knowledge. I might not be very accurate but the dates mentioned are as practiced in the year 2016 and could change again in the coming years.
They wished, they greeted,
They celebrated it with joy.
The end of the gone year,
And welcoming the new one.
For so many years at stretch
Year after each comes a new year.
Some traditions practiced to cherish,
Some festivities that homes do garnish.
Having welcomed the exciting 2016 ,
We are not done, just not done yet.
For the auspiciousness and the fervor,
Of the Month of April is yet to come.
Come the eighth day of the month,
And the excitement rules Cheti Chand.
That to Sindhis all round the world,
Brings the day of their special Cheti Chand
Not just a new beginning to a new lunar month,
It marks the beginning of the Sindhi New Year.
The Tahiri rice is cooked so sweet in no haste
Accompanied by chick peas to savor the taste.
Lord Jhulelal is worshipped and the deg is cooked to set,
Bahirano Sahib is prayed upon before being immersed.
The Hindu state of Maharashtra is lit up in joy,
Gudi Parva, their new year they all do enjoy.
The Puran poli is rolled to perfection again,
The sweetness of modaks, lit up lamps in lanes.
The gudhi flag is hoisted, and houses cleaned,
The new year is greeted with a lavni dance meet.
The Puthandu brings the fun in Tamil Nadu,
The year hence begins very pompous in Nadu.
While in Southern India, a lot more to fete,
In Karnataka and it’s neighbor Andhra Pradesh.
Ugadi comes as a year when the harvest is new,
The pongal and payasam has the sweetness hue.
The coconuts line up on trees as if in a queue,
The Malayalam new year that’s called Vishu.
The temples are all hustle and bustle galore,
The elephants adorned, the boats shine at the shore.
The pleated sarees, with flowers adorning hair,
The lungis with borders, the white stamped stairs.
The brass lamp holders, that hold the flames,
Encircled in movement during the Arti prayers.
The jasmine stringed garlands and kumkum in temple,
chrysanthemum and bells that all mark the day so simple.
The young and the old, all greet each other this day,
The Hindu New Year, Vikram Samvat 2073 is here.
And not just in Hindustan, the day celebrated,
In Nepal and Lanka, the Hindu new year is feted.
That’s not the end, there are more to come,
The calendar moves to 13-15th of the month.
Vaisakhi marks the Sikh New Year all over the Globe,
With hoisting of flags, and serving of langars to note.
The Holy book in continuation is read all day and night,
The Gurudwara Sahibs are all lit up and gleaming bright.
Kathas and kirtans and paath Sahibs all enchanting the soul,
And each household keeps making the Prasad to fill bowls.
The Poila Boishak also called Nab Barsha comes too in line,
In Bengal it’s a celebration, and so in Bangladesh at the time.
Cultural geity being every Bengali’s tradition and pride,
Each house is well cleaned and decked as anew bride.
The rose scented syrup of Rosogolla pleases the tongue
The Durga stuti is sung along with Tagore by old and young.
The sandesh and the puja find common ground
By traditions and music they are all so bound.
The Bihu comes along in the neighboring Assam,
Celebrations encore in Jharkhand and Orissa towns.
Chaitti is the New year in the state of Himachal Pradesh
Comes on the first day of the first month of the Samvat.
Basoa celebrated on first day of Baisakh by some,
With the folk music of aboriginal Himachal outcome.
Fermenting the cakes of the Korda flour to perfection,
Consuming with daughters, along with jaggery concoction.
The Marwari celebrate the Thapna by song and dance,
The rich folk culture in Rajasthan takes to a vibrant trance.
Commencing on the primary day of the Chaitra Navratri
Also is Navreh, the New Year celebrated in Kashmir.
Commemorating the day in memory of the victorious King,
King Lalitadriya it is spent in festivity, fun and frolic swing.
The day considered as sacred as the Maha Shivratri there,
Kashmir raises its level of excitement and religious cheer.
Sajibu Cheiraoba celebrated with rites and rituals many,
In Manipur it is the New Year in all simplistic sanctity.
Comrades these days appear to each other, in unison,
States varying, styles integrating, but all celebrating.
Be it the rangoli, be it the conch shell blowing, it glows,
And showers the blessings that the elder bestows.