Festivity Fervour in Chaitra

India, a country of cultural diversity is united by the same vision.  Every year the followers of Hindu religion glorify the first day of the month of Chaitra which is considered to be highly auspicious. The Hindu New Year is celebrated in accordance with the Almanac or the Panchanga, i.e. the Hindu Lunar Calendar. On this day, the sun is found to be at the point just above the intersection of the equator and the meridians. We at Culstreet want to share an informative piece while we engage ourselves in the festive mood. Let all our woes fade way and peace & harmony prevail in our lives.

Navreh Mubarak:

 

Similar to the Iranian Haft-Seen and Zoroastrian Nowruz the Kashmiri pundits celebrate holy Navreh with great devotion. According to mythology, the Sapta Rishis gathered at the Sharika Parvata (Hari Parbat), the where stayed goddess Sharika, as the first sunray fell on the Chakreshvara at this auspicious moment the Rishis paid tribute to the goddess. Thus, marking the beginning of Saptarshi Era based on the calculations of the Nava Varsha Pratipada.

The followers are believed to keep unhusked rice, bread, curd, salt, sugar, and walnuts on a plate along with a silver coin, a pen, a mirror with flowers, and most importantly Panchanga or Almanac which happens to be the first things they see in the morning to mark this day.

 

Gudi Padwyacha Hardik Subhecha:

Gudi Padwa or Samvatsar Padvo (among the Hindu Konkanis residing in Goa), is celebrated by on the day of the Chaitra Shukla Pratipada. This is also the first day of Chaitra Navratri marked by Ghatasthapana or Kalash Sthapana. The word "Padwa" derived from the Sanskrit word, Pratipada, meaning the first day of the lunar month. This festival is celebrated at the very end of the Rabi season. A long bamboo stick is fixed onto the ground or a fixed surface and the tip is tied with a zari cloth, and gaathi (sugar candy), neem leaves, mango leaves and a garland of red flowers is tied over it. A copper or silver pot is placed in an inverted position over the tip of this stick. This is referred to as the Gudi.

 

Ugadi Shubhakankshalu:

As Telugu people greet each other saying, "Yugadi Shubhakankshulu" and Kannadigas wish each other saying "Yugadi Hubbada Shubhashayagalu", we find their way of celebrating the new year is distinct. Here’s how:

The word ‘Ugadi’ (‘Yuga’ and ‘Aadi’) literally means ‘start of new era’. The people of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka participate in the celebration with great enthusiasm. The day is marked by various symbolic activities. Beginning with an oil bath ritual, the pious people offer their tribute at a temple. Then they engage in eating. It is called the Ugadi Pacchadi in Telugu and Bevu-Bella in Kannada. They believe that life is a combination of all kind of feelings and experiences, both good and bad. Cheering the experiences of life they gather to celebrate. The ethnic cuisine on this day includes neem signifying sadness, jaggery and ripe bananas indicate sweet happiness, green chili and pepper are hot and therefore, symbolising anger, Salt signifies fear, and the sour tamarind juice indicates the emotion of disgust. Unripened mango is also added for its tang, adding that emotion of surprise. A special dish called Bobbatlu is prepared on the New Year’s Day. In Karnataka, this is referred to as Holige or Obbattu. After an elaborate feast, people gather to listen to the recitation of the Panchanga. This is called Panchanga Shravanam.

Cheti Chand Jiyun Lakha Lakha Wadhayun Tav:

The Sindhi community has a quiet way of observing the Cheti Chand. They worship water - the elixir of life with pomp and gaiety. It is to honour the birth of a saint of the Sindhis, Ishtadeva Uderolal, popularly known as Jhulelal. The Sindhis peacefully take Baharana Sahib to a nearby river or lake. Baharana Sahib symbolises Jhulelal, an image of Jhulelal along with a kalash with a nariyal on top are kept, this is decorated with jyot, misiri, fota, fal and akha and covered with a piece of cloth, flowers and leaves.

During the forty long days of observation, they are prohibited to use any kind of perfumery and cosmetics, the men do not shave and none wears new clothes or shoes. In the evening, they sing in praise of Varun, a Vedic deity of water and cosmic order, as they pray for solace and salvation. After 40 days of Chaaliho, the followers celebrate the occasion as 'Thanks Giving Day'.

 

Sajibu Cheiraoba:

The attraction of Manipur is not limited to its forests, hills, amazing wildlife or lakes. The state is also home to various tribes that cling to their traditional ways of life. The Sajibu Nongma Pānba, also called Meetei Cheiraoba or Sajibu Cheiraoba, is the Lunar New Year festival of the people who follow the Sanamahism religion. They have quite an elaborate way of celebration.

The ritual starts with cleaning up households as they get rid of old clothes, used utensils to mark a new beginning. On the day of the festival, an elderly member performs a ritual for prosperity and long life at the gateway in honour of Lainingthou Sanamahi deity. The villagers make offerings of rice, vegetables to their tribal deities. After the first offerings are made in the morning, both the men and women prepare dishes to serve their deities on banana leaves following traditional custom. Post their worship they engage in feasting or Mathel Laanba. In the evening the villagers go on paying homage to hill deity signifying the elevation of the spirit. The Cheirao Ching at Chingmeirong and Chin-nga at Singjamei are particularly designed for the hillock climbing ritual among the Manipuris.

 

Chaitra Shukladi:

The pilgrims of north India begin fast to commemorate Navratri as the moon enters on its waxing phase on the first day of Chaitra month. Shukladi is suggestive of the bright day after Amavasya. Navaratri, meaning nine nights is also known as Vasanta Navratri in the month of Chaitra. Devotees fast for nine days and worship goddess Durga and her nine avatars. The vim and vigour of the festival is seen everywhere in India, especially in north India. Navadurga signifies Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Devi Kalaratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri. Each avatar has their own significance, mantras to worship during the Navratri festival. Chaitra Navaratri Puja begins with Ghatasthapana on Shubh Muhurat time with Navratri vidhi (rituals and traditions). The auspicious occasion is celebrated by making colourful Rangoli. The end of Navratri is marked by celebrating Ram Navami on the ninth day.

 

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