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I have been writing about many Hindu festivals and rituals, and today again we are celebrating another Hindu festival. It's "Hindu New Year" starting from today. Confused ? Okay so let me simplify it. According to the Gregorian calendar, the whole world celebrates New Year on 1st January, but according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar, the new year falls in the month of March or April. And this year it's starting from today. Today's celebration is also known as "Ugadi" which is Telugu new year. The word "Ugadi" is made from Yuga + Aadi which means "Beginning of a New age.
Here are some of the facts about this very day :
1. It is the starting of first season (Ritu) of the year, as per Hindu mythology.
2. It is the season of spring (vasantha-rithu).
3. It is the chairtra masa-sukla paksha (the first month of the year) according to Hindu calendar.
4. It is the starting of second Navratras of year.
5. It is the starting of new astronomical cycle into motion for Hindus.
As all these important elements fall this day, it has a special significance and people make it as commencement of a new year. As I have always mentioned a supporting story for any of the Hindu celebration, for celebrating new year today also has a mythological story behind it. Conferring to mythological facts, Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, began a series of wonderful creations, including our earth and all the life forms that live in it. The festival of Ugadi/Hindu New Year is celebrated to acknowledge this very day on which Lord Brahma started with this divine work.
All in all, significance of celebrating new year is, to leave the past behind and start with a fresh and positive aspect of life. This day also starts the spring season which is regarded as the best ritu in which plants, shoots, and leaves come to life. And therefore, this day is believed to set things rolling for a fresh and successful new beginning. Hindus performs pujas and seek blessings from God for health, wealth, prosperity, and success. In south India, on this day, it is a practice to eat what is called "Ugadi Pacchadi (Ugadi Chutney). This Chutney is made from neem flowers, mango, honey, sugar and other ingredients with different tastes. I came to know from some one that, this Chutney preparation is to indicate that life is a mix of good and bad, joy and sorrow and all of them have to be treated equally. All experiences have to be treated calmly. So this day every one should make a resolution that he/she will face peacefully whatever comes in this year, accepting it with good grace. This means Welcome everything with full heart !!
Happy New Year :)