6 Diverse New Year Traditions Celebrated In April!
By Monami Mitra | Apr 13, 2018
India is a land of diversity, and yet there is so much of similarity in what we celebrate and how we celebrate them. Case in point is our New Year, which is celebrated in different parts of India almost along the same dates and includes age-old traditions like offering early morning prayers, reveling in songs and dances, feasting on delicacies, wearing new clothes and offering respect to elders. In the month of April itself, we have six different states celebrating their New Year. Read on to know more about their unique traditions.
Derived from the Sanskrit word “Vishu”, Rongali Bihu denotes the beginning of a new year and the new harvest season in Assam. Celebrations include the ever graceful Bihu dance and preparation of delicacies like “Pitha” and “laddos”. Traditional garments like saadar mekhela and dhoti and gamocha are worn by women and men respectively. This festival lasts for several days and each day has a specific significance attached to it.
The Bengali New Year signifies the end of the harvesting season, and the beginning of a new one. Traders open a new account book, Haal Khaata, for the coming year. Families clean their homes and decorate it with alpona (rangoli-like decoration made by a paste of rice and flour). Of course, Bengalis being the notorious foodies that they are, celebrate the New Year with mouthwatering delicacies and their famous sweets. People wear new clothes on this day, sing and dance to Rabindra Sangeet, and meet and greet close ones to bring in the New Year together.
Punjabis are known for their celebratory spirits and their new year is celebrated with equal grandeur. This day pays a tribute to the gods for the plentiful harvest and seeks blessing for the coming year. People wear vibrant garbs and dance Bhangra and Gidda to celebrate the occasion. Scrumptious meals like makke di roti, sarson ka saag, gajar ka halwa, lassi etc. are indulged in.
This day celebrates the spring equinox, and the people of Kerala visit temples to have a Vishukkani Kazhcha (seeking the blessings). It is believed that one should view auspicious things on this day, and so Vishukkani, comprising of the god Vishnu, holy Hindu texts, Konna flowers, coins, rice, golden lemon, and other auspicious items are compiled for the family members to view first thing in the morning.
Popularly known as Pana Sankranti, the Odisha New Year is celebrated with full pomp across the state. Mass prayers and yagnas are performed and a nutritious drink known as pana is handed out (hence the name). An important ritual known as Basudhara theki is also conducted during this time to symbolize humanity and its protection from the scorching sun by rainfall. Chattua or Sattu is eaten and distributed and street performances are carried out to bring in the new year.