This year, April is a ‘festive’ month with the hope of prosperity and promising new beginnings! As per the lunar calendar, various regions in India will ring in their traditional New Year. It also marks the beginning of the harvest season which reflects in the festivities.
Although the festivals are celebrated differently across the country, they bring families together and create a joyous atmosphere. Let’s take a look at how these festivals are celebrated in the country.
Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra and Ugadi in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana mark the New Year in these states. They are celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month and this year fall on Saturday, April 6. Gudi Padwa is considered to be an extremely auspicious and it is believed Lord Brahma created time and universe on this day. Traditionally, families hoist a Gudi, wherein a bright silk cloth is tied at the top of a bamboo. It is covered with a metal pot and decorated with garlands of flowers and neem leaves. It is a symbol of Lord Brahma’s flag and is believed to ward off evil and bring prosperity.
On Ugadi, people wake before sunrise and begin the day with a holy oil bath. The main entrance of the house is decorated with traditional rangoli and toranas made from mango leaves and flowers. Ugadi Pachadi is a traditional dish that is the specialty of the day. It is made with ingredients that represent different flavours such as sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. The different flavours represent the different phases of life one experiences from the cradle to the grave.
Baisakhi which falls on April 13 this year marks the Sikh New Year. It also commemorates the formation of Khalsa Panth of warriors under Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. Punjabis celebrate by visiting the gurudwara for a prayer meet early in the morning. It is followed by kirtans and prasad and relishing the delicious langar. A high point in the celebrations of Baisakhi are the processions where people perform gidda and bhangra. Religious tunes played by bands and mock duels make the celebrations vibrant and enchanting.
On the following day, April 14, Bengalis will welcome their New Year – Poila Boishakh. On this auspicious day, new account books are ‘opened’ by traders by drawing a religious symbol on the first page. This is known as Haal Khaata. The New Year is ushered with ‘Rabindra Sangeet’.
On the same day, the Tamil New Year — Puthandu — will be celebrated. Families start the day with kanni at dawn. They place a large mirror on the ground. A tray filled with fruits, coconut, gold ornaments, fruits, cash, betel leaves, among other auspicious things is placed in front of the mirror. People have to see the reflection of this tray through the mirror.
People from Odisha will also welcome their traditional New Year — Maha Vishuba Sankranti or Pana Sankranti on the same day. In the Odia tradition, it is believed that Lord Hanuman was born on this day. People offer their prayers to him, Lord Shiva and Suryadev (Sun God) on this day.
Soon after, Vishu, the Malayalee New Year will be celebrated on April 15. The first sight in the morning is Vishukkani. It includes everything that is part of a good harvest arranged in an uruli. It contains vegetables, fruits, coconut, and rice. The traditional dress of Kerala called set mundu is also placed. Other things include betel leaves, a metal mirror and gold coins. The uruli is placed before an image of Lord Vishnu, and families gather and offer their prayers. Bihu, which is the Assamese New Year, will be celebrated in Assam from April 15 onwards. It is also called as Bohag Bihu. It is celebrated for seven days through folk music, bihu dance, merriment, and feasting.