Today, March 23rd is Yugadi the Hindu New Year!!!
Hindu calender is Lunisolar. The hindu calender is called Panchanga, as it has pancha(five) properties. New year begins with the month Chaitra which comes just after spring equinox. Each year has a unique name and there are 60 just year names called as Samvatsara and then the names rotate. This year is the 'Nandana naama Samvatsara'.
People from southern parts of India, celebrate this new year as 'yugadi' or 'ugadi'. Yuga means era and adi means start, so yugadi means its is the start of an era. The festival of Ugadi also welcomes the spring season when nature seem to be immersed in the festive mood and new leaves and new buds along with fresh breeze of spring manifold the Ugadi spirit.
The day starts with a lovely oil massage and bath called 'Abhyanjana' and then wear new dress. The doors are decorated with fresh mango and neem leaves strung together called as 'thorana'. Flowers are also used to deck the doors.
Beautiful Rangolis are drawn in the front yards.
After offering prayers to the lord, everyone at home eats a mixture of Bevu-Bella (neem leaves/ flowers and jaggery (unrefined whole cane sugar) ). This is to symbolize the hardships and comforts that one faces in lives. These are mixed in equal proportions to signify that the hardships and comforts have an equal share in lives.
While consuming this mixture of jaggery and neem leaves, people chant a verse:
shatAyurvajra dehAya sarva saMpatkarAya chassarvAriShTa vinAshAya niMnbakM dala bhakshaNaM
Meaning:Eating of neem leaves is for longivity (to be a centurion), to have a body astough as diamond, to create wealth and to ward off all misries and sufferings.
Putti and I did some leaf rubbings to welcome the new year. Read our last year's post on yugadi and how we made a beautiful leaf banner here.