This 18th of March 2018 we celebrate the beginning of a new year. Ask how?
Well, January 1st is celebrated as the new year worldwide according to the Gregorian calendar which is to have a uniform calendar scheme across the world thereby enabling inter-country & continental affairs to run smoothly. But dig deep and you will find that many countries have their own specific day of the year celebrated as the start of a new year like the Chinese New Year was on Feb 16th, Iranian New Year on March 20th & more. So, does India but being a multicultural country with each state having its own traditions 18th March is the New Year for some of them. So let’s try to know more & appreciate about this festive occasion across the various deccan states.
Gudi Padwa – Celebrated as New Year in Maharashtra
The term Padwa symbolizes the phase of the moon which is New hence invisible. The Marathi’s believe that this was the day that Bramha the created the world & the universe. While the term Gudi means flag which is hoisted in front of every home to signify many events. The pole is of a bamboo stick adorned with a cloth that is green or red in color. At the tip, a Copper or Steel vessel known as a Kalash is placed. The Gudi is then adorned with flowers & leaves of the neem tree. This setup is to signify various events in history like the victory of a separate dynasty in the war to honoring the creator as it is also known as the flag of Bramha. Other traditions of the festival include the drawing of streets with colors known Rangoli & preparation of various dishes like shrikhand, Puran poli amongst others. This is how the people of Maharastra welcome the new year in a festive & celebratory manner.
Traditions tell us where we have come from. Scripture itself is a better guide as to where we should now be going. N.T. Wright
Ugadi – The start of a New Calendar year in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
In Andhra Pradesh & Telangana the new year is celebrated in accordance with the astronomical event of the new moon day after the completion of the moon cycle 13 times. The preparation starts with the proper cleaning of the homes the previous day & everyone waking up early morning to take an oil bath. While the women decorate the floors with colored Rangoli, the men are busy decorating the home & door arches with neem leaves & flowers. Puja is performed & Youngsters seek blessings from elders. The first thing to eat is a Veepota Pachadi (neem flower mixture) of crushed neem leaves & jaggery mixed to symbolize the good & bad times that one will have the year. It is mixed & consumed to signify life is a mix of all types of events & we need to have to courage to go on & prosper. The day proceeds with a prayer & visiting of temples where the events of the year are readout. In many villages, towns & cities Kavi Samellan(Poetry recitation) & other cultural events are held. Dishes prepared & relished include Obbatu, Chana Usal, Medu Vada among many others.
Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life! Albert Einstein
Yugadi – The welcoming of a new Yuga (Year) in Karnataka
The name of the festival Yugadi can be split into the terms ‘Yuga’ which means year and ‘aadhi’ meaning the beginning which translates to the beginning of a new year. The day was calculated & proclaimed by the great mathematician Bhaskara to be the precise start of a new year as per astronomical events. Just as the way it is done for Gudi padwa & Ugadi the homes are cleaned, floors are adorned with rangolis & doors are adorned with thoranas (strings of mango leaves). Family members have an oil bath 7 then pray to God. The first thing consumed is a special dish called ‘Bevvu Bella’ where Bevu mean bitter & Bella is sweet. The dish consists of six ingredients exhibiting six flavors namely neem flowers – bitter, tamarind – sour, chilly powder – spicy, raw mango – tangy, salt – salty & jaggery for sweet. Each of these flavors is like the different situations we will experience in life which we need to face with valour. Some of the special dishes prepared include Holige, Payasa, Chitrana, and many others.
Thereby our country is rich with culture & traditions with values & science embedded in them. It’s our responsibility to look them up & apply those that are relevant to our everyday lives & follow the others to symbolize our rich history. Celebrate this Gudi Padwa/Ugadi/Yugadi with Joy & Harmony.
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