How Hindus Celebrate the New Year


A look at how different Hindu groups celebrate the New Year.

Many people follow the Gregorian calendar and celebrate the New Year each January 1st. However, Hindus have a different method of welcoming the New Year. There are various Hindu traditions in different regions in India that dictate the type of festival that is celebrated to welcome the New Year. According to the Hindu calendar, the New Year is celebrated in line with the solar and lunar system.

The New Year celebrations in India are done in different times as well in different regions and occasions in the month of April. In every region, there is a specific culture that Hindus abide by. Celebrations are during spring, which is in mid-April in South Asia, when crops are harvested. Here’s a list of some of the traditions celebrated in different regions of India.

Ugadi is used to signify the start of an age and is celebrated in the state of Karnataka, Maharashtra, as well as Andhra Pradesh. Indians prepare for this festival by buying new clothes and eating good food. Ugadi pachadi is a special type of dish that is prepared specifically to welcome the Telugu New Year. It is prepared with a combination of many different flavors that symbolize what to expect in the New Year. Ugadi is usually observed in the months of March or April although the dates may vary depending on the Hindu calendar system.

During this festival, Indians say “Puthandu Vazthukal” to wish each other a Happy New Year. It is observed on Tamil Month and as a tradition, Tamil New Year is celebrated at mid-April on either April 13-14th. During this day, mangai pachadi food is prepared, which is made from raw mangoes, jaggery and a combination of neem flowers.

The festival celebrates the Assamese New Year which marks the beginning of the agricultural season. Bohag Bihu is the most crucial festival celebrated in Assam and is observed by abundance, joy and faith.

In India, the Bengali New Year festival is observed by Hindus living in hilly regions of Tripura. The Nabo Barsho festival is also celebrated in mid-April and people gather and celebrate with a lot of enthusiasm and energy. It is a time for cultural programs, prayers and shopping. It is also considered an auspicious time for marriages.

The Gudi Padwa festival is observed on the first day of Chaitra month (March-April) and is celebrated by Indians who are Konkanis or Maharashtrians. During the celebrations, a Gudi  is usually hung out on the right-hand side of the house main entrance. In simple terms, a Gudi is a bright yellow cloth that is tied on the tip of a long bamboo, with a copper pot that is inverted on it, along with a sugar garland.

Baisakhi is a harvest festival that is observed by states across Northern India. They refer to it as the Punjabi New Year and is usually celebrated either on April 13-14th, commemorating the formation of the Sikh Khalsa. During these celebrations, Indians gather at the Golden Temple in Amristar and the birthplace of Khalsa.