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Usher in the New Year

The Many Regional Celebrations

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Gudi Padwa

A ritual during Gudi Padwa

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Although the Indian National Calendar is the official calendar for the Hindus, regional variants still prevail. As a result, we have a host of new year festivities that are unique to the particular regions on this vast country. Characteristic of the Indian cultural mélange, Hindus in various states of India celebrate the new year in their own ways. And not all of these fall on the same day!

The Hindus of Kashmir start their new year - Navreh - in mid March. At the same time, the southern Indian states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh begin their new year - Ugadi. The Marathas celebrate their new year Gudi Padwa, and the Sindhis observe Cheti Chand, the coming of new year, during the same time. Usually, the Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Kashmiri and Sindhi New Year falls on the same day - the first day of the month of Chaitra, heralding the advent of spring.

It's Ugadi in Andhra & Karnataka!

The Telugu and the Kannada New Year falls on the first day of the month of Chaitra (March-April). People in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka states in the South of India believe that Lord Brahma began the creation of the universe on this auspicious day of Ugadi. People prepare for the new year by cleaning and washing their houses and buying new clothes. On the Ugadi day they decorate their houses with mango leaves and "rangoli" designs, and pray for a prosperous new year, and visit the temples to listen to the yearly calendar - "Panchangasravanam" as priests make predictions for the coming year. Ugadi is also an auspicious day to embark on any new endeavor.

Bring in the Goodies on Gudhi Padwa in Maharashtra & Goa!

In Maharashtra, the new year is celebrated as Gudhi Padwa - a festival that heralds the advent of spring (March-April). Early on the morning of the first day of the Chaitra month, people finish their ablutions, wear new clothes and decorate their houses with colorful "rangoli" patterns. A silk banner is raised and worshipped, and greetings and sweets are exchanged. People hang "gudhis" on their windows on this day to celebrate Mother Nature's bounty. A "gudi" is a decorated pole with a brass or a silver vessel placed on it.

Cheti Chand - the Sindhi Thanksgiving Day!

The Sindhis celebrate Cheti Chand on their New Year day which coincides with Gudhi Padwa in Maharashtra and Ugadi in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Cheti Chand falls on on the first day of the month of Chaitra, also called 'Cheti' in Sindhi. This day is observed as the birthday of Jhulelal, the patron saint of the Sindhis. On this day, Sindhis worship Varuna, the water god and observe a number of rituals followed by feasts and devotional music, such as bhajans and aartis.

Next Page: Read about Baisakhi (Punjab), Puthandu Vazthukal (Tamil Nadu), Vishu (Kerala), Poila Baishakh (Bengal), Bohaag Bihu (Assam)

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  5. Hindu New Year: Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, Nava Varsha, Navreh

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