New year unveils the beginning of the year that lies ahead of us and we readily embrace it by welcoming with a pinch of traditions and rituals. The spring festival marks the traditional new year. People from different celebrates the new year in their own unique ways. In Maharashtra, one can witness Marathas celebrating Gudi Padwa on the first day of Chaitra month of the Hindus. Gudi meaning “erect flag” is the part of the celebration
The beginning of the lunar year is celebrated in different parts of the country in different ways, each having its own significance. The day is celebrated as the New year across Maharashtra celebrated in the month of Chaitra month of the Hindu calendar. In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, it is celebrated as Ugadi whereas Sindhi regard this day as Cheti Chand “Gudi Padwa” in Maharashtra.
This list is an amalgamation of various versions of one festival “Gudi Padwa” celebrated in different parts of the country with its own line of traditions and culture.
The famously renowned festival of Gudi Padwa is celebrated in Maharashtra with pomp and vibrancy. The word “padwa” having its origin from the world of Sanskrit, means the very next day after the moon. “Gudi Padwa” is a Marathi name which actual meaning is Chaitra Shukla Pratipada. The most prominent warrior king, Shivaji Maharaj was the one who symbolized this day as the win “Vijaya Dhwaj” by commencing the new year with grand celebrations. In the Maharashtrian way, the first day of the year is auspicious and sacred and is celebrated on the first day of Chaitra month, in accordance with Hindu Calendar. The significance of this day also marks the celebration of Harvest in India. That means, the Harvest of Rabi crops has come to an end and the beginning of the year is welcomed by sowing fresh fruits like mangoes have on a great occasion fortunate day.
Vishu meaning “Equal”, truly is an essence of signifying the completion of the spring equinox. The festival follows the solar cycle of the lunisolar as the first day of the month called Medam. This festival is known for its solemnity and lack the pomp of celebration and is mainly celebrated in Kerala, Mangalore and Udupi districts. The welcoming of the year is done in a sacred celebration, known to be Vishukani – an auspicious presentation of fruits, vegetables, flowers, silver and gold coins presented before Lord Krishna is one of the kinds of holy celebrations, people prefer to do. After the Vishukani, the elders of the family distributes “ kaineetam” to the younger members of the family.
Sindhis of both India and Pakistan commences of the new year by celebrating Cheti Chand. The second day of the Chaitra month of Hindu Lunar Calendar is known as Chet, hence the festival’s name is coined as Cheti Chand. For Cheti Chand is symbolically celebrated for the arrival of Spring and harvest season but also has a variation to the conventional means. It is believed that the mythical birth of Ishtadeva Uderolal- a warrior and an old man who preached and reprimanded the equality amongst Hindus and Muslims. On this day, people worship water and perform their rituals near the lake. They also prepare a pooja thali known as “ Baharana Sahib” that consists of an oil lamp, sugar, cardamom, and fruits. They also have a Kalash that, a metal pot and coconut covered in bright cloth and adorned with flowers and leaves.
The people of Manipur celebrate their festival as Sajibu Cheiraoba which is also known as Meetei Cheiraoba or Sajibu Nongma Panba.The word “Sajibu” in Manipuri means the first month of the year that falls on April according to Meitei lunar calendar, while “Nongma” means the first date of the month and “Panba” means to be. Thus “Cheiraoba” indicates the end of the year and the beginning of the year according to “Meitei” calendar. The essence of the festival lies in its simpleness by preferring to decorate the house, clean and well broom it. The auspicious preparations lie in making the authentic ” Athelpot ” prepared from whole rice, raw vegetables, fruits, and flowers.”Athelpot” is then offered to Lainingthou Sanamahi and Leimarel Ima Sidabi.
The Hindus of Southern India, mainly in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana celebrates Ugadi on the first day if the lunisolar calendar month of Chaitra as their new year. Ugadi or Yugadi derives its meaning in Sanskrit as “Yuga“- age and “Adi” meaning beginning. The Ugadi Pachhadi is consumed on this day. Just like Gudi which is a combination of sweet and bitter taste, Ugadi is considered to taste six different kinds of food. Women adorn their houses with rangoli and flowers. The juice is consumed on this day which is made up of neem leaves, unripened mango, jaggery and ripe bananas.
People from Nothern India, especially from the Sikh community celebrates this day as the mark of commencing the new year with all the Bhangras and pomp. This day is considered to be lying the foundation of Khalsa Panth in Sikhism by the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. This day is considered to be the merriment day for the farmers who had toiled in and out through the year for a good harvest. They offer prayers to thank god and pray for the prosperity for the year coming ahead.