It is celebration time for Hindus across Bharat over the next three days including today as Hindus gear up for several festive celebrations including Navvarsh, Baisakhi, Gudi Padwa, Ugadi, Puthandu, Visu, Naba Barsha, Bihu, Pana Sankranti, and Navreh. Today also marks the beginning of Chaitra Navratri when Ghatasthapana takes place indicating the beginning of nine days celebrating Devi Shakti in her nine forms.
Hindu Dharma says it was on the Shukla Pratipada of the Hindu month of Chaitra when Bhagwan Brahma completed the task of creation. Therefore, it is the day when the new Samvatsar (new year) begins. Shukla Pratipada is the first day of the Moon’s waxing crescent. Moon (Chandra Dev) nourishes plants with Somras that is the basis of life as per Hindu beliefs. Yugadi marks the beginning of the new year in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
It is said that the great mathematician Bhaskaracharya wrote the panchang (Hindu calendar) on this after spending the whole day from sunrise to sunset making the necessary calculations. Popular belief also states it was on this day that Bhagwan Ram relieved the people of the Kishkinda kingdom from Bali’s oppression.
It is customary in Maharashtra and Goa to put up a Gudi at their homes. The Gudi Padwa or Samvatsar Padvo celebrated by Maharashtrians and Konkanis is based on the Luni-Solar calendar. Chaitra is known as Chet in the Sindhi language and Cheti Chand is the first day of the new year for Sindhis who also follow the Luni-Solar calendar.
The year is divided into days and months in a Luni-Solar calendar based on the positions of both the Moon and the Sun. The Solar calendar, on the other hand, divides the year into days and months based on the position of the Sun alone.
The Drikpanchang says “Hindu New Year is celebrated twice in the year with different names and at two different times of the year. The Hindu New Year based on the Solar calendar is known as Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, Bihu in Assam, Vaisakhi in Punjab, Pana Sankranti in Orissa and Naba Barsha in West Bengal.”
The Chaitra Navratri begins with the Ghatasthapana on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada and ends with Ram Navami and Sita Vivah. The nine days are dedicated to the 9 forms of Devi Shakti and all the customs followed during the Shardiya Navratri (that falls in September or October).
Sikhs celebrate Baisakhi on this day which is both a harvest and a religious festival. It was on the day of Baisakhi in the year 1699 that the Sikh Khalsa was established by the tenth and last Sikh Guru Gobind Singh.
In West Bengal, Mesha Sankranti is celebrated as Naba Barsha, Noboborsho, or Pohela Boishakh that marks the beginning of the Bengali calendar. It was Raja Shoshangko of ancient Bengal who is accredited with starting the Bengali calendar. It is believed to have been started around the year 594 of the Gregorian calendar.
Pohela Boishakh marks the beginning of the Assamese new year which is known as Bihu. Odia new year which is also known as Pana Sankranti is celebrated at this time. Odisha follows the Luni-Solar calendar People of the state generally visit temples of Bhagwans Shiva or Hanuman and/or Devi Shakti on this occasion.
According to Odia traditions, Pana Sankranti is said to be the day Bhagwan Hanuman took birth. Several melas (fairs) are held at various temples in Odisha. Mesha Sankranti is celebrated as the new year in both Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It is known as Puthandu or Varusha pirappu in Tamil Nadu and Visu in Kerala.
A ritualistic oil bath followed by consumption of neem in some form or the other is a new year custom practiced almost across the whole of Bharat.
It is celebration time for Hindus across the country, no matter by what name they call it! Hindupost wishes its readers happiness, health, wealth, and prosperity for the year ahead!
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