Happy Indian New Years Posted by kunthra on Apr 13, 2011 in Uncategorized
Happy New Year! According to various Indian calenders, the middle of April is celebrated as the New Year.
The Tamil New Year is called Puthandu. On Puthandu, there is a ritual called kanni. Kanni is a practice where people look at jewelry, rice, flowers or fruits. These items are considered items of good fortune. Therefore, to celebrate the New Year, people watch these items to welcome the New Year with good luck. Women also draw intricate rice powder drawings called kolam. The practice of kolam is done on the floor and is considered auspicious to the household that makes the kolam. Here is a video explaining the kolam in more detail:
The Oriya New Year is called Mahavishuva Sankranti and is generally celebrated in mid April. For Mahavavishuva sankranti, sweets drinks called pana are filled in a pot. Pana is a drink made of fruits, water, milk and sugar. These drinks are also offered to the deities. On this day you will find that there are many small pots filled with water on the side of the road. These pots are left aside for any thirsty souls, including animals; so that they will have their fill of water. The Orissa New Year also coincides with a dance festival called danda yatra, so it’s a fun time of festivities:
In Kerala, the New Year is called Vishu. Lucky objects like rice, lemon, cucumbers, mirrors, yellow flowers, sacred texts and coins are all arranged for vishu (see video). It’s believed that if a person sees these items as the first thing since waking up, he will have good luck for the rest of the year. This custom of arranging auspicious items so that a person will see them first thing in the morning is called Vishukkani. The items for vishukkani have symbolic significance. For example the rice symbolizes food, the sacred verses as knowledge and the coins represent money.
The Assamese New Year occurs around mid April and is called Rongali Bihu. On the fourteenth of April, cows are washed and fed the choicest grain. The cows are respected by the farmers for all the hard work they do in the fields. The next day on April fifteenth, Assamese people put on their very best clothes and get ready to celebrate the New Year by singing and dancing. You can see a clip of this dancing in the video below. Finally, on the sixteenth of April, the statues of gods are worshipped. The people ask for peace and prosperity in the New Year.
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