Read about Hindu New Year in different parts of India.

Hindu New Year

India, being a vast country of immense heterogeneity, is known far and wide for its enchanting diversity and colorful splendor. It is made up of numerous regional and cultural variations. Its dynamic resplendence is exemplified best by the beauty of its vast cultural richness. Even though there exists a unified official calendar of the Hindus, known as the 'Indian National Calendar', inter-regional variants make the country all the more versatile. As a result, you can find different religions and regions boasting of their own unique rituals, colors, feasting and music. Even festivals are celebrated at different times of the year and in different ways according to the regional culture. This is true with New Year as well. Though Hinduism is the religion that is followed by the largest percentage of people in India, even within the Hindu community New Year is not celebrated at the same time of the year and in the same fashion. New Year in India has different names in different states and is also celebrated in very different traditional ways. For instance, the Kashmiri Hindus celebrate their new year 'Navreh' in mid-March while the Sindhis also celebrate 'Cheti Chand' around the same time.

In West Bengal, which is in the eastern part of India, New Year is celebrated during spring. People decorate their houses with colorful flowers that are pink, red, purple and white in color. Women wear clothes that are yellow in color. This color is symbolic of spring. In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in the south of India, New Year is celebrated in the spring too. On New Year's Day, it is customary for people to eat a small helping of a salad made of neem leaves, jaggery, raw mangoes and bananas. By eating this on New Year's Day, the person is symbolically accepting all the bitter and sweet things that are likely to come his way throughout the New Year. In Kerala, in the southernmost part of India, on the night before New Year's Day, mothers prepare a special tray consisting of special food, fruits, flowers and gifts. This tray is the first thing that one should see on New Year's Day. So, as soon as the children are awake, they are led with their eyes closed to the tray.

In central India, orange flags are hoisted from buildings and homes on New Year's Day. In Gujarat, which is in western India, New Year is celebrated in the end of October, on the day that coincides with Diwali. Diwali is an important Hindu festival, but in Gujarat it is celebrated as New Year's Day as well. People light little oil lamps on and around their houses to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth on this day.

Thus, in India, the Hindu New Year is celebrated on different days throughout the calendar year as a result of vast cultural diversity.