India is a beautiful land of culture and religion. In India, there are numerous festivals, occasions, and rituals followed by Indians or Hindus. It is the beauty of hearts and down-to-earth nature that binds all of us together with invisible threads of love, happiness, kindness, and uniqueness. Indians are differently unique people living together as one holding the legacy of our ancestors.
There are many days or times when Indians or Hindus celebrate the new year. Some follow the solar calendar and some follow the lunar calendar. Those who follow the lunar calendar will celebrate the new year in April. Chetra is celebrated as Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and, Karnataka. In the states of Maharashtra and Goa, it is celebrated as Gudi Padwa. The Sindhi community also celebrates this festival by the name Cheti Chand. Kashmiris celebrate this festival by the name Navreh. Other Hindus celebrate this with Chaitra Navratri which is celebrated in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand.
In this article, we are going to share how the Lunar new year is uniquely celebrated according to the lunar calendar by Hindus and by regional communities of India.
This year Gudi Padwa has been celebrated on the 2nd of April. It is a spring festival celebrated by the people of . This Lunar new year marks the beginning according to the lunisolar method of the Hindu calendar. It is celebrated on Padwa or the first day of Chaitra month. Maharashtrians make rangoli with colors and flowers in front of their doors. They also make Gudi or Dhwaja as well which is a cloth or a saree with flowers, mango, and Neem leaves, garland topped with upturned silver or copper vessels on their terrace. This Gudi is the significance of purity, love, and prosperity.
The Gudi flag held high is a symbol of victory. Each element used to make the Gudi symbolizes something. Neem symbolizes the bitter experience is in life. Sugar candy represents happy moments. Gudi is believed to help get rid of evil and invite prosperity and good luck in the house. To celebrate this day many street precessions, and dancing festivals are organized within the community.
Authentic food for Gudi Padwa
On this Lunar new year, Maharashtrians make their traditional food recipes. They enjoy them with their family including Pooran Poli which is made of gram dal, sugar, jaggery, and ghee. They also make shrikhand which is made of sweet hang curd and tastes divine. The more traditional food includes Kothimbir Vadi, batata vada, Wakhri dal, Kesari Bhat, and many more authentic dishes.
Ugadi or Yugadi is a Lunar New Year according to the Hindu calendar. It is celebrated in the southern part of India including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka. This is celebrated on the first day of Chaitra month which typically falls in April month of the Gregorian calendar. It also falls in the Tamil month Panguni. On this day people make rangoli with flowers and colors on the floor which is called Muggulu. People use mango leaves for decorating their houses, and doors. The significance of this festival is indeed unique; which tells that Ugadi marks the arrival of the spring season, and Ugadi also marks the beginning of the New Era.
On this day people worship Lord Vishnu; who is the creator of Yuga for ages hence it is called Yugadi as well. People from the southern part of India traditionally worship Lord Vishnu by taking an oil massage followed by a special bath. And by preparing and sharing special food called Pachadi, and visiting Hindu or Vishnu temples.
Authentic food for Ugadi
The most popular traditional authentic dish that is prepared in houses and temples on Ugadi is Pachadi. Ugadi Pachadi signifies all six tastes – sweet, salty, spicy, astringent, and bitter. The other traditional dishes include Poornamoleru. It is made with a stuffing of chana dal jaggery coated with rice and an urad dal batter. The other dishes are lemon rice, flavourful tangy rice, curd rice, sweet Pongal or Sheera, Kesari which is made with Rava, dry fruits, and saffron.
Cheti Chand is celebrated by the Sindhi community in India. They celebrate it with joy and togetherness. This festival marks the arrival of spring and harvest in the Sindhi community. It also marks the birth of Jhulelal the Ishta Devta of Sindhi Hindus. On this day many Sindhis follow the procession and take the Bahrana Sahib representation of Jhulelal to a nearby lake or river; which consists of Jyot (oil lamp), sugar, cardamom, fruits, flowers, coconuts, and clothes. Cheti Chand is a major festival of Sindhi Hindus in India and even in Pakistan. There are many Sufi Muslim followers as well who follow Jhulelal and call Jhulelal Swami Khwaja Khizir.
Authentic food for Chetichand
Traditional Sindhi food includes Sai bhaji which includes spinach, fenugreek, chana dal, brinjal, pumpkin, carrot, tomato, onion, ginger, chilies, and many more authentic spices. Mitho Lolo is made with whole wheat flour, sugar, cardamom, and dry fruits. Sindhi Kadhi is made with green chilies, cumin seeds, gram flour, vegetables, tamarind pulp, coriander, and many authentic spices. Dal Pakwan is one of the most popular yet traditional recipes. It is made with gram refined flour dry mango powder, semolina, curry leaves, cumin seeds, and many other spices.
Chaitra Navratri is the start of the Hindu Lunar new year. It is celebrated for 9 nights and 10 days and comes around April every year. This day starts with traditional prayers for health, wealth, and prosperity of the family and symbolizes togetherness. It is celebrated in the central region of India, which covers Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Bihar. Every Hindu celebrates this festival and welcomes the spring season with joy and enthusiasm.
Authentic food for Chaitra Navratri
On this day many authentic traditional dishes are prepared which include kheer, Puri, and shrikhand. Some people keep fast from this day for the next 9 days. They have fast-friendly food, which includes Sabudana vada, coconut laddu, Sabudana khichdi, paneer rolls, and many more.
Navreh is the Kashmiri Lunar new year. It is celebrated by Kashmiri Hindus with the largest number of Kashmiri pandit community. People from Kashmir dedicate this day to their goddess Sharika. It is on the eve of Navreh that the Kulguru of the pandit family gets an almanac(Nachi Patra or nakshatra Patri), an illustrated scroll with a sacred picture of Sharika on it and some sacred verses. Just one day before Navreh, every Kashmiri pandit in Srinagar visits a sacred spring Vichar nag, and takes a holy dip in its water to cast off the wintry sloth and impurities.
Late in the evening the women folk get a big thali (metal plate) and fill that up with rice, dry flowers, fresh flowers, sprouted grass, curd, walnuts a pen, inkpot, and pen holders. A pot containing little salt is placed on the thali along with silver and gold coins and a lump of cooked rice, wheat cake, and a small piece of bread made with rice powder, covered with another metal plate for the night. In the early morning on new year's day, a boy or a girl gets up at dawn. He or she takes the lid of the thali to the head of the family and other family members to get a glimpse of the things they kept on the plate last night. They look it into the mirror first thing in the morning. This signifies a prayer for food, wealth, and knowledge in the coming year.
Authentic food for Navreh
Kashmiri food is flavourful not very common but delightful. Vegetarian pandits are mostly vegetarian. They make several dishes from Lotus stems known as Nadru, dum aloo, sweet rice many authentic dishes made with paneer and curd.
It is celebrated in the Indian state of Manipur around April by the followers of the Sanamahism religion. The people of Manipur perform several rituals on this particular day which include The Meitei, Pangal, and the Meitei. The day begins with ritual offerings of fruits, vegetables, rice, and other uncooked food items to the Meitei deity Lainingthou Sanamahi. Early morning they gather with their extended family and make authentic lunch. According to tradition, they all clean their houses, clothes, utensils, and household items as it's signifies the coming of the spring season and the ending of the winter wave. Married women present a gift, usually a piece of cloth, to their father or brother before the day of the festival. This festival is intended to strengthen the bond of love and brotherhood among family members.
Authentic food for Sajibu Cheiraoba
During this festival, many authentic Manipuri dishes are prepared including- Uti. It is a traditional dish consisting of Uti Asangba Thongba (green Uti) or the classic Uti, Yongchak aloo Eromba with fermented fish, Nga Thonga( fish curry), Chakhao, cooked with milk, camphor, bay leaves, coconuts, and dry fruits.
We wish you all a very happy, prosperous, and wealthy Lunar new year. We hope that you all enjoy these festivals with your family and loved ones.
Apoorva is a Data Analyst by profession, Data Enthusiast, and likes to work and analyze data. She is a published poet, writer, painter, art, and music lover. It's her belief that life is a series of tiny miracles and we just need to notice them, we just need to enjoy the ‘life' ride patiently. She likes to chant Vedas and loves reading books in several genres.