Hindu calender based New Year celebrated by several communities

uhindyr01Maharashtrians and Andhraites celebrate their New Year on March 31, while Sindhis celebrate theirs a day later, on April 1, based on the Hindu calendar. All in all, it is an auspicious occasion for all. Different communities celebrate their new year differently; while some take out processions or have huge gatherings, other communities make it a family affair.

Maharashtrians begin their new year by decorating the threshold of the house with a rangoli and toran. After donning a traditional attire, all members of the house gather at the doorstep and hoist a gudi there. A gudi is essentially prepared by taking a long bamboo stick, a new silk cloth, with an inverted Kalash placed on it. The entire family then worships it. “The gudi is a mark of prosperity and success. By doing so, we hope the new year is filled with happiness. In many places across the state, communities also have a swagat yatra, wherein members of the community gather to showcase the traditional art of Maharashtra – malkhamb and lezim. They also make it a point to dress in their traditional best to add to the festive fervour,” says Ruchita Kharkhanis, a resident. The meal later in the day, too, is not a regular one. Residents usually prepare puri and shrikhand, puranpolis and gulab jamuns. As the festival also marks the beginning of the mango season, raw mango juice is also prepared in homes.

Cheti Chand celebrated by Sindhis also marks the birthday of their patron saint, Jhulelal. They worship the water god on this day and gather near a river or a lake. Members of the community gather with an idol of Jhulelal and a plate full of auspicious articles like an oil lamp, sugar, cardamom, fruits and Akha (rice mixed with milk and flour). They also have a kalash with coconut in it which is covered with cloth, flowers and leaves. On this day, Sindhis keep all their activities, including cooking, on a side-burner. “In Ulhasnagar, huge processions take place wherein people in large numbers participate. They gather near a lake, carry on the rituals and head to the Jhulelal temple. Sindhis from all over the city gather here for these celebrations,” says Krutika Wadhwani, a resident of Thane.

Andhraites celebrate Ugaadi on this day. They start the day with a traditional pooja, followed by consuming jaggery and neem leaves to mark the good and bitter moments in the upcoming year. “Visiting family and friends form an important custom on Ugaadi. We visit our elders and take their blessings. Then, the whole family gathers to have a sumptious meal comprising different vegetables, rice and sweets,” says Divya Atilli, a resident.
Residents of Thane are looking forward for a long weekend filled with fun, fervour and never fading festive spirit.

Source: DNA