Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Origins of the New Year & the Ides of March

Happy New Year. These words are evocative of cards, gifts, great parties with family and friends, of repentance and good intentions. In every place there is someone happy to have added one more year to the diary of one's existence. The New Year Eve is the last night of the year, although it has evolved in its customs and superstitions.

Everyone loves to celebrate the arrival of the new year. And the celebration has almost the outlines of a great national holiday. The festivities last for at least eight days. Sometimes even twenty. The reasons are lost in the mists of time

The centuries and the traditions handed down to us the custom of celebrating the beginning of the new year, consolidating that invisible lasso of brotherhood that unites all, surviving the metamorphosis of great social and cultural revolutions. The feast of the new year, in every century, in every culture and in every tradition is the feast of all people.

There are innumerable traditions and superstitions that manifest throughout the world in relation to that night. Music and fireworks accompany parties and social gatherings, a common way of carrying out the celebrations. The most widespread custom is to toast with wine during the 12 strokes.

In this post I will talk a bit of the new year of the past, of its origins so to speak and the pagan part of the Celtic New Year, Samhain because in some respects it resembles this celebration. So I will leave more room for other cultures and traditions. It seems that the New Year has its origins in Mesopotamia, which corresponded to the day of the first new moon after the vernal equinox, so there was a deep sense of rebirth.

For the people of prehistoric times, the most important festival was the day of the winter solstice, which was the shortest day of the year, where it was feared that the sun would have abandoned them forever. It was thus the task of the priests practicing a ritual that was used to hold the sun, who tied a rope to a particular sacred stone, which symbolized the sun, and at sunset the priest pulled the rope just as if to hold the sun. On those occasions it was normal to attend the rites of exorcism and other esoteric traditions in an attempt to drive away evil spirits that disturbed the harmony.

And apparently, this magical ritual worked, since already from the day after the day began again to lengthen. Between European people, the most ancient civilizations of which we know their rites and their ceremonies to celebrate the New Year, are undoubtedly the Gallic people and that of the Romans. The first day of the year for them was the day of Calends of March, when the Romans exchanged gifts.

These gifts were called presents. The most common opinion, reports that this custom began in the time of Titus Tatius, king of the Sabines, who shared the throne with Romulus when the two nations joined. With the Romans the end of the old year was represented by a man covered in goatskins, brought in procession, struck with chopsticks and called Mamurius Veturius.

There was near Rome a wood consecrated to goddess Strenia, a deity for power. In that place met the inhabitants of the city of the Seven Hills to pick up the first green and new branches that offered in homage to Tazio as a sign of respect and how happy wishes for a good year; in the preservation effects of those branches or the opening of a primitive spear it was surely hope of fruitfulness of the earth and abundance of the harvest.

That simple and humble tribute were the first fruits harvested by man. Then the gift of green branch extended amnesty to all or part of the debts, from a custom to a religious and fraternal duty, calling the gifts offered gifts, name given as an act of homage to the tutelary deity of the woods.

For a long time this custom preserved its primitive character and its eloquent simplicity: the sacrifices offered to Strenia in its forest and the distribution of green branches of which were returning provided those who had taken part in the religious ceremony, formed the characteristic feast of the year new.

To the extent that the people of Rome grew in splendor and opulence, the ancient offerings of green twigs were transformed into other gifts of greater importance, consisting of figs, dates, honey and other fruits which were delivered in silver or gold or trays when the person who paid homage had fewer economic opportunities, on a gold leaf, to wish a year filled with sweetness.

Under the Empire of Octavian Augustus the luxury and refinement of manners had transformed the gifts of the New Year in works of art of great value. Since then he introduced the novelty of honor with magnificent strenne the Emperor, as was done in ancient India, as we have said; the senate, the knights and even the people themselves, in offering their respects to the emperor's new year day, lavished according to the possibilities of the sums of money, sums that were used to raise are the gods or to adorn the temples and buildings with sculptures.

Caligula was to transform this costume in a form of obligatory contribution, publishing an edict was enshrined compulsory to present every beginning of the year the Emperor gifts in the lobby of his building not forgetting of course to personally check the offers.

This odious tax was abolished by Claudio, although subsequently, continued to receive these donations that were transformed in all respects in a substantial income. With the transition from paganism to Christianity, the pope and the bishops, fought this practice and opposed to the payment of this humiliating tribute, coming to prohibit the Roman emperors converted to Christianity.

It was the custom to exchange greetings and congratulations gifts with each other, and this custom with the limits imposed by consumerism has come down to our day.

In ancient Rome the first year was dedicated to Janus. To him, the priest offered spells mixed with salt and grated cheese, flat bread, flour, eggs and oil baked, perhaps to propitiate the god of beneficial influence on the nature and the fruits harvested. With the New Year, then, we are faced with a celebration that seems without any religious connotation, but that has proven through time to find her own roots in ancient religious festivals.

The decision to start the year in January has its origin in ancient Rome, in the second century BC, but during the Middle Ages the beginning of the year was celebrated at winter solstice. The history of our calendar, the most used in the world, is the result of successive approximations of the calendar year to the astronomical year that marks the seasons.

The day and the year as it is defined today have their foundation in the movement of the Earth on itself and around the Sun. The day and the year are therefore the bricks of a solar calendar. However, the month is a unit based on the motion of the Moon and forms the basis of the lunar calendars. The week, an intermediate unit very convenient to organize the days of work and rest, corresponds approximately to a lunar phase.

Our current calendar is obviously solar, but its origins go back to the ancient Roman calendar that had a lunar foundation. In ancient Rome, several centuries before our era, the year was a succession of ten months of Martius (dedicated to Mars), Aprilis (from the Latin aperire, to open by plant shoots), Maius (by the goddess Maia) Junius (by Juno), Quintilis (the fifth month), Sextilis (sixth), September (seventh), October (eighth), November (ninth), and December (tenth).

Ides of March or Anna Parenna is also called the Spring Equinox, Juno Lucina, Vernal Equinox, Lady Day, mamuralia, Festival of the Trees, small Eleusinian mysteries, Oestara for wicca witches. In Archaic Era and before the year was republican in fact began in March and was dedicated to Mars, God beloved by the Romans at the beginning seen as the protector of the spring and then the rebirth of nature after the winter doldrums, later became god of war, as they conquered the Romans with more and more weapons' vast territories.

And the Ides of March, in correspondence with the full moon (the lunar months time were respected, and the terrestrial TV frequency), the consuls took office. But the Ides of March kept their sacred meaning even after the Fifth Fluvio Nobiliore, anxious to leave for the Iberian Peninsula, he decided to take office on January 1, causing a definitive reversal of the calendar. On that date he was celebrating the feast Anna Perenna, feminization of annus with the addition of an auspicious adjective.

This event was a picnic full-blown, with day-trippers who lay on the grass, or tents and huts, happily toasting with wine and women. There were those who danced and who improvised obscene dances. It appears that the god Mars, shortly after Anna's rise to the immortal world, ask her to intercede in his favor against the incorruptible Minerva (Greek Athena) with who m he was infatuated.

After far bargaining Anna pretends to Mars to be invited in secret from his beloved for the gallant encounter. Mars appears in the alcove and consumes time of unbridled passion with a veiled companion. And only when she uncovers her face, that poor Marte realizes that the other woman is not the same as Anna. But Anna was a representative of the Great Mother by the full moon. And in this regard in the ancient Indian Sanskrit, the roots of Indo-European languages, "anna" means life essence of the cosmos and the goddess Annapurna.

The year began on the first day of March, under the auspices of the warrior god, for this was the date that marked the beginning of the military campaigns with the appointment of the consuls. The months began with the new moon, something that was difficult to determine observationally, precisely because in that phase the moon is not visible.

In addition, as the year was much shorter than 365 days, its beginning was changing seasons, which created inconveniences in the military campaigns. To avoid this problem, additional months were interspersed from time to time. This situation lent itself to a great disorder. The pontiffs those in charge of the calendar as well as the bridges of Rome lengthened and shortened the years fraudulently, according to their convenience, to prolong the magistrature of their friends and reduce the others.

Numa Pompilius tried to match the Roman calendar to the seasons by permanently adding two months to the end: Ianarius (dedicated to Jano, month 11) and Februarius (februare, purification, month 12). In 153 BC, the beginning of the year was set on day 1 of Ianarus (instead of 1 of Martius), when the consuls were appointed, that is, two months before the start of the campaigns .

Thanks to the two additional months introduced by Numa Pompilius, the year had grown to about 355 days, but it was still too short compared to the year of the seasons. Occasionally a thirteenth month was introduced, something also conducive to manipulations by political or economic interests. In 46 BC the year of the calendar was outdated about three months with respect to the seasons and the disorder continued to reign.

It was Julius Caesar (102-44 BC) who in 45 BC (708 CE) decided to carry out a definitive reform of the calendar. He commissioned the work of the prestigious Greek astronomer SosĂ­genes, who was based in Alexandria. Sosigenes took care of the Moon and adjusted the duration of the months to fix the total duration of the year in 365.25 days on average, that is to say, about 11 minutes shorter than the tropical year (that of the seasons, which lasts 365, 2422 days), thus transforming the calendar from lunar to solar. As it was convenient for the year to have a whole number of days, the ordinary year was set at 365 days (like that of the Egyptians) and in order not to accumulate an offset with the stations it was decided to insert an extra day every four years.

Later, the month Quintilis was renamed Julius in honor of Julius Caesar and the Sextius was renamed Augustus (by Augustus) but, by inertia of language, September, October, November and December have retained some names that today seem to us to be absurd and which are obviously inadequate.

This calendar, called Julian in memory of Julius Caesar, remained valid for more than sixteen centuries. But for many of these centuries, Catholics resisted celebrating the beginning of the year in a month dedicated to a pagan deity.

In the Middle Ages, different peoples of Europe used to celebrate the beginning of the year on dates of religious significance. The beginning of the year on January 1 became mandatory in many European states from the 16th century. It was imposed in Germany by an edict to 1500. Charles IX decreed it in 1564 in France and went into operation in 1567; In Spain was generalized towards century XVII (in the XVIII in Catalonia), and in England had to wait until 1752.

Over the centuries, the 11-minute difference in the length of the Julian and the tropic years generated a very significant drift. At the end of the sixteenth century, despite the correction introduced at the council of Nicea (AD 325), the spring equinox was very important for the Church, since it determines the date of the Passover fell to March 11, is Say, 10 days before the date that the Church had imposed on him at Nicaea. This situation led Pope Gregory XIII to make a major reform in 1582, the year he cut 10 days.

In the excellent resultant calendar, called Gregorian , which is still valid today, the year has an average duration of 365,2425 days. But it still contains significant differences from the astronomical year (the Gregorian year lasts 26 seconds longer than the tropics) and still retains numerous curiosities and peculiar elements. For example, it still contains leap years (including 2012), but the secular years of such leap years (except those that are divisible by 400) were suppressed.

The ancient Persian New Year was also celebrated with great pomp and there were parties and celebrations and friends exchanged treats, congratulations and gifts. Among the latter, stood out among all, a golden egg-shaped gift or painting, which symbolically commemorated the creation. In fact, according to the tenets of Zoroastrianism and the Zend Avesta, the world originated from an egg Taurus that mythological Mitra broke with his hooves.

Creator of the universe and personification of the sun and light, which is why it was called by the Persians the eye of Hormuz, Mitra, emblematic trinity of religion of the Magi, that illuminates, warms and fruitful, and that ultimately directs the harmonious path of the stars to the sound of the heavenly lyre, each of its vibrating strings is a ray of sunshine.

In the ancient times, the people, came down to us as the sound of his conquests, his victories of its pomp and splendor, the feast of Nowruz, or of the new moon, which took place at the beginning of each year and lasted ten days.

The night of the fifth day introduced in the palace of the king a young man who through the night remained still in the anteroom of the sovereign. In the morning he appeared unannounced in the king's chamber. The king asked him to see who he was. I am blessed, I come from the port of Hormuz and the New Year. Immediately entered the room the high dignitaries of the court, with a silver cup and grain seeds of different species, a loaf of bread, pieces of brown sugar and two pieces of gold as an offering to the king.

These took a bread, he ate a piece and divided the rest among those present, saying that this was the beginning of a new day, a new month and a new year, everybody had each other to renew the friendship and ties of affection which united with each other. Dressing himself of the royal mantle blessed them and took leave them with rich gifts.

The exchange of gold and colored eggs have been for a long time the traditional gifts of the Russian New Year, surely deriving from the Persian tradition that Christianity did in his time in the Middle Ages and which still persists to this day, although for us the exchange of eggs He was transferred to the religious festival of Easter.

Even the ancient Israelite people had their New Year holiday to commemorate the creation and to implore the Jeová blessing and forgiveness of sins. During the month of Elul, which was the last of the Jewish year, the people handed in acts of penance and devotion to atone for the sins committed during the year.

The first day of the new year was announced publicly at the sound of the shofar, a trumpet made from ox horn, trumpet playing during the morning prayer for this the welcome ceremony at the new year was known as the feast of trumpets ceased all sorts of work, and was offered as a sacrifice to Sabaoth an ox, two calves, and seven lambs, as well as the unleavened bread and wine.

The festivities lasted ten days and ended with the day of forgiveness. After the large diaspora, the new year celebrations took on a religious character, and this great feast was called Rosch-Haschana with cadence during Tisri, also called in the Bible Ethanim, whose word means dragon, that corresponds to the period of autumnal equinox.

From the Arabic root darsh, which means to press and extract the juice, it derived Tirosh, meaning the new wine made in this month just after the autumnal equinox. The ceremonies began in the afternoon with the reading of the Holy See and with the intonation of hymns of praise. The next morning ceremonies were renewed and their conclusion, the faithful greeted each other with each other saying: May you be inscribed in the Book.

This auspicious form was founded on the belief that the Jews who professed the first day of the Almighty judges men according to the good or bad actions, writing the destiny in the great book which is always open near his throne. Everyone greeted each other with prayers recited aloud and for which it was necessary to agree on a price between flattered and earmarking the funds raised in this strange way to alms for the poor.

During the ten days following the first day of doing penance and praying, confessing his sins to God and pouring abundant alms. This decade of penance, of introspection, of budgets, ended with the ceremony of forgiveness, Yom Kippur, after which the Chief Rabbi of the synagogue gave the blessing of Moses to the Semitic people. This is a tradition that has remained to this day with a thread of continuity to this scattered people in every part of the world.

The ancient Mexicans ended the year with five complementary or additional days to eighteen months of twenty days when divided the solar year. These five days were called the five days Nemontemi, during which ceased all activity. Children born in those days, when males were called Nemo Quachtli, useless man, if female Nehuatl, useless woman.

These days were dedicated to public and private festivities: during which ceased would stop all forms of work, closing shops were broken off judgments in court, even the priests left the temples and places of worship to take part in the merriment and the general festivities.

The first day of the year was devoted to visits, gifts and congratulations, the joy permeated every part of the town, between music and dances were leaving early misfortunes, sorrows and disappointments that during the course of the year entrant could have been sent by evil spirits. For Asian populations, the new party of the year had ancient traditions.

The Chinese designated it as the party of the closure of the seals because the first day of the year in all courts were closing the boxes containing the imperial seals At the same time that the ceremony took place, cease all activities, mandarins and all the dignitaries and state officials left their functions.

The festival began on the evening before on the last day of the year that was ending. At the break of the moon, the priests with trumpets and drummers, used only for this occasion, gave the signal to which the people responded with fires fireworks, shouts and other demonstrations of joy. The following day, at the start of the new year all stayed at home.

The second day, however, the imperial court took place a big reception. The people then gathered in the streets and in each hand crossed large processions accompanied by priests and were brought to parade the effigies of the gods, while the priests chanted hymns and burning incense, these processions continued for three days.

Fifteen days after the beginning of the year was celebrated the feast of lanterns, so named for the endless number of lanterns with which lit up the houses, the streets and squares of the city, a holiday that was celebrated also with great pomp, worthy appendix to the new year celebrations, and that with it they end.

A Tonkin (Chinese Tongking, Bac-Pan for the Vietnamese people is the part of Southeast Asia, northern part of Vietnam), the population began the solemnity of the year reconciled with enemies and forgiving the insults and evil received. The inhabitants used to set up for the occasion in front of the house a kind of parapet adorned with colored paper and all sorts of trappings, so as to frighten the spirits who for the whole year would be kept away from the house.

Always at the beginning of the year took place the ceremonies of commemoration of the dead who during their lifetime had carried out a wave of great and glorious events; for them it rose up stele where it was written the illustrious name, they built altars to make sacrifices in their memory, they brought trophies.

At these solemnities they attended mandarins with their dignitaries accompanied by the troops, burned incense and perfumes in honor of the deceased and prayers in their memory. Concluding this ceremony, they throw into the air five arrows against those who in life had caused disturbances in the State.

An artillery needed to take grant from the deceased who had been bestowed military honors, that gave fire to the altars, trophies and decorations and we retreated to their homes where they remained in meditation for all the next day, avoiding gestures and words of bad luck-bringing. The next day we went to visit, they exchanged greetings and congratulations.

In Buddhist Tibet, the ceremony of the beginning of the year is called Losar. It is a grand ceremony in which exalted the spiritual aspect, offering great gifts to the spirits and to the tutelary deity. It is propitiatory to burn incense and perfumes and offering an alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of barley, (a kind of primordial beer) . With the spread of Buddhism in Tibet, the festival acquired a religious solemnity and character that remained so to this day.

Tradition has it that this festival has been commissioned by King Pude Gungdyal, when the computation of time was based on counting of the moon phases and probably merged with the celebration of the rite of celebration of agriculture. Currently this religious festival is still one of the most important festivals of the Tibetan people and is celebrated with religious rites at all monasteries in Tibet.

Some tribes of Siberia celebrated New Year's party with ceremonies to obtain from the Gods a year of prosperity and abundance. The solemnity begins at sunrise. A priest knelt on the ground in front of the sun and loudly called the gods and the two others advance towards the star of the day, each carrying a wooden cup, one containing milk and the other the kumis (obtained from the fermentation of mare's milk) through as the kneeling priest he recited a prayer.

The ceremony ended with the sacrifice of a calf, the remains of which were distributed among the priests and their assistants, and dedicated the rest of the festivities to dances, songs and wishes for prosperity. Traces of this tradition can still be found on the feast of the Tsagaan, that is the traditional celebration of the beginning of the year of the inhabitants of Mongolia.

Until the early centuries of our era, the people of the Franks had a rather original way to celebrate the new year. They dressed up in cow hides, deer or other animal, and refrained from giving water, fire or any other kind of necessities to neighbors, friends or debtors.

In return, each one is placed before the door of the house a table laden with all sorts of tasty foods, as to ensure that all those who were passing by could use them to your liking. Such generosity was offset by the fact that over those foods had been made previously all sorts of spells to transmit at Inc. guest all the evil that could threaten during the year the home of these generous hosts.

In this unpleasant tradition it had to end the Catholic Church that fatigue and under the threat of censure and excommunication was able to definitively eradicate this malpractice. quite similar traditions were in fashion in the Middle Ages in Europe, New Year was celebrated the feast of fools.

At the stroke of midnight, people dressed up in shapes more strange and terrifying you wore in the streets, screaming and throwing and falling into all sorts of excesses, they testified against the bad luck always ready to hit the new year. Again the Church's intervention could also eradicate this practice. At the time of the pomp and splendor of the European choirs the festivities and had played an exceptional character of splendor which it had not seen since the days of Imperial Rome.

The exchange of gifts took place with this display of generosity that affected all walks of life to squander in real gifts and their assets. It was a famous anecdote about the Cardinal Dubois; beginning of every year he called his butler and with a wry smile said: My dear friend, as a gift I give you everything you've stolen from me in the past year.

For the people who follow the Julian calendar, the beginning of the year is celebrated on the day corresponding to January 14 in the Gregorian calendar, which is also the day of Makar Sankranti in India. The decision to consider 1 January as the first day of the year follows the introduction of the Julian calendar promulgated by Julius Caesar in the year 46 BC. Previously the beginning of spring around March-April was regarded as the first day of the year.

In the seventh century the pagans in Flanders, followers of druids, had the custom of celebrating the turn of the year exchanging gifts and drinking through the night with men wearing masks resembling heifers or deer, and women made spells with fire.

The Italian tradition includes a series of superstitious rituals to dress in red underwear or throwing old or unused objects out of the window. Lentils are eaten for dinner on December 31, as a pledge of wealth for the new year and another tradition involves kissing under the mistletoe as a sign of good luck.

In Spain there is a tradition of eating twelve grapes, one for each chime of the twelve popped by a clock. In Russia, after the twelfth stroke, people open the door to let in the new year. Throughout the former Soviet Union, it is customary to exchange and open presents. Often they give away chocolates or dolls corresponding to the animal symbol of the Chinese calendar year.

In Ecuador and Peru, people perform outside their homes with mache mannequins, sometimes with the appearance of celebrities, footballers, etc. filled with firecrackers in order to burn and explode to the chimes of midnight. In Japan, before midnight, families go to temples to drink sake and listen to 108 strokes of the gong announcing the arrival of a new year. It is believed that this is the number of sins that a person makes in a year and which we will be cleansed thereby.

In many countries that follow the Gregorian calendar, including the United States, United Kingdom and others, the New Year is also a public holiday. In many countries, if the January 1 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then the Friday before or the following Monday are also holidays.

The Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year is celebrated in several countries of the Far East including China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Nepal and Bhutan at the new moon that falls between January 21 and February 19. New Year in Vietnam, the Tet Nguyen Djan is celebrated in conjunction with the Chinese. Islamic New Year is celebrated on the first day of the month of Muharram. Losar, the Tibetan New Year falls between January and March.

In Afghanistan and in Iran the Norouz coincides with the spring equinox on March 21. The Naw-Ruz of the Baha'i Faith shares the same day. Ugadi, the Telugu New Year falls between the months of March and April. In Thailand, Cambodia, Burma and Bengal, the solar new year called as Songkran falls between 13 and 15 April. Mapuche takes place during the winter solstice on 21 June in the Southern Hemisphere. The date coincides with the Inca New Year (Inti Raymi).

Rosh Hashanah, the Hebrew New Year, generally takes place in the month of September. Enkutatash is the New Year of Ethiopia that falls on September 11. The Hindu new year is celebrated two days before Diwali in mid- November. Yhwach, the new year of sacha people in Yakutia is celebrated at the June solstice.

In Russia if the New Year is almost a national holiday, it is because the roots of the festival are ancient, that mingle with the birth of the nation. The pagan ancestors of the Russians celebrated the Koliada, the feast of the winter solstice. The ancient Slavs celebrated it from December 24 to January 5. The Kaliada lasted twelve days and the ritual was officiated by twelve priests, who used twelve sheaves to predict next year's crop.

Twelve were also the wells from which the water was taken for other divinations. The number twelve was a key figure of this festival. Kolyada in Slavic mythology is the god of the winter sun, and son of the great Dazhbog and beautiful goddess of love Lada.

This celebration took place from December 24, after the shortest day of the winter solstice. This astronomical fact was of great sacred significance for our ancient Slavs ancestors. The ancient Slavs burned fires, made fun and actively sang different songs, praising the Kalyada winter sun that with each new day must fight the darkness, and in the spring warm the earth with its sweet rays, melting snow and bring joy and warmth.

In the Middle Ages, many European countries used the Julian calendar, but there was a wide variety of dates indicating the starting time of the year. For example, from the twelfth century until 1752 in England and Ireland, the New Year was celebrated on March 25, while in Spain until the beginning of the seventeenth century, the change of year was December 25. In France until 1564, New Year was celebrated on 1 March, while in Italy, it was celebrated following the Byzantine style that marked it at 1 September.

This local diversity which ranged widely from city to city, continued after the adoption of the Gregorian calendar. Only in 1691, Pope Innocent XII amended the schedule of his predecessor stating that the year should begin on 1 January, that is, according to the modern style or the Circumcision. The universal adoption of the Gregorian calendar meant that the date of 1 January as the beginning of the year finally became common.

January 1 marks the beginning of a new period, which usually is dedicated to the summary of the past year, especially in radio, television, and newspapers. In mass media often is published articles or transmitted news about what happened during the last year, the lists of deceased in view of people during the year just ended, the changes announced, expected or anticipated in the new year, as the description of the laws that will take effect from 1 January and the horoscope for the coming year.

This day is in many places a precept of religious festival but also an opportunity to celebrate the night of passage between December 31 and January 1, which is celebrated with New Year Eve. On the occasion of this celebration, in almost every city in the world shoot traditional fireworks, usually accompanied in Anglo-Saxon countries from the song Auld Lang Syne. Many also consider it an opportunity to make resolutions for the new year.

Nababarsha or Pohela Boishakh is the first day of Baishakh, the Bengali New Year celebrated in West Bengal and Bangladesh. Contrary to the majority of Bengali festivals, linked to one of the religions practiced in India by Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and Muslims, the Bengali New Year has nothing to do with Krishna or Jesus or Mohammed or Tara.

Bengalis began counting the years from the reign of King Shoshangko, which began on 12 April 593. He governed the areas currently divided between West Bengal, Bangladesh and parts of Bihar, Orissa and Assam, but it remains a hypothesis, as the Mughal emperor Akbar in the sixteenth century, found himself scratching head and neck between this strange lunar calendar that did not coincide with the fiscal calendar, on which was based the collection of taxes.

And even he had no idea of the origin of this method of counting the days that messed with all the deadlines of taxes due to the empire. He ordered his astrologers to reform and unify the calendar with the Islamic calendar mixing with the Hindu solar calendar. A new calendar in Bengali, adopted throughout the empire, made ​​the job easier for debt collectors, with the small detail that, it did not begin with the year 1, but with the present year of the Islamic calendar, a phase shifted by 14 years then in Bengali.

In summary that year was 2012 AD, 1433 when Muhammad moved from Mecca to Medina and 1419 was the beginning of the reign of Shoshangko. Having no religious connotation, there are no puja or wanderings in sacred temples or gatherings of holy men. Simply, in line with the tradition of Bengali cuisine, people will be with the family and eat, especially sweets, not to be stingy with cholesterol and ensure a sweet year ahead.

It is traditional to repaint storefronts, signs and houses for the new year. Bengali calendar months have names like Boishakh, Joishto, Ashar, Srabon, Bhadra, Aswin, Kartik, Agrahayan, Poush, Magh, Falgun, Chaitra and are divided into six seasons of summer, monsoon, autumn, hemanta, winter and spring. In turn, each month is divided into two parts with shukla paksha, from new moon to the full moon and the dark krishna paksha, from full moon to new moon.

Losar in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal and Jammu-Kashmir is the Tibetan New Year, and is celebrated in India where there are Tibetan communities. In Ladakh it is advanced by two months. The festival lasts three days. The climax is in the last day, during which monks and people participate in traditional and folk dances, accompanied by abundant music and intoxicating chhang (a kind of beer prepared the first day of Losar). On the occasion people repaint the houses and decorate the walls with paintings depicting the sun, feminine symbol of wisdom and the moon, the method.

According to the traditional Hindu calendar around mid April falls the first day of Baisakh, the month that brings the spring. Ugadi is celebrated in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. After thorough sacred ablution and prayers to propitiate the gods, people decorate houses with mango leaves and rangoli (geometric designs made with colored powders). The festive menu includes a special dish that includes six flavors, from sweets, representing all the experiences that the man should expect to enjoy in life and learn and digest, with taste.

Gudi Padwa is celebrated in Maharashtra and Goa. The festival celebrate the arrival of spring. Gudi is a sort of garish yellow and green flag on top of which are fixed mango leaves, garlands of flowers, sugar crystals and a metal vase upside down that is exposed on the roofs or in front of the doors of the house.

Cheti Chand is celebrated by the Sindhis in India and Pakistan. It is a celebration of communion between Hindus and Muslims, beyond the distinctions of creed and caste. Navreh is celebrated in Kashmir. Hindus of the region prepare a special dish the night before the day, with rice, almonds and other foods, salt, flowers, pen and paper, coins, a divine image, a small mirror, a new calendar and bitter herb. Then they cover it and sleep.

The next morning one of the sons reveals first the pot and makes sure that everyone in the family are resting their first look on it before. The food and coins represent the abundance and wealth, pen and paper the search for knowledge, the insight mirror, the calendar of the impermanence of creation and the bitter herb (savored with almonds) the sufferings that are part of life as well as the joys.

According to traditional Hindu calendars of Tamil Nadu, Assam, Bengal, Manipur, Orissa, Kerala and Punjab, the first day of the year is celebrated with colorful festivals. Puthandu, in Tamil Nadu, is famous for its beautiful kolam decorations, drawn on the floor with colored powders (similar to the rangoli of the North and the athapoo Kerala) in front of houses and temples.

The first ceremony of the day is Kanni, open your eyes in the morning and place them on objects like gold, new clothes, new calendar, mirrors and food. For the opportunity to Thiruvidaimarudur, near Kumbakonam is a spectacular chariot festival of the temple: a enormous solid wood wagon (including wheels) which is deposited a tiny divine statue is hauled to arms in procession.

Vishu is the name of the new year in Kerala. Even the day here begins with the auspicious vision of Vishu kanni divine image surrounded with very good taste, by other offers (prepared in the evening and the night hidden as in Kashmir). The color of the day is undoubtedly the yellow konna, flowers in clusters that bloom this season and symbolize prosperity, perhaps because they shine like gold whose keralites go crazy.

Baisakhi is celebrated in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Returning north another joyful festival is one with which the Sikhs welcome the New Year, to the beat of drums and the energetic bhangra dance and giddha.

Pohela Boishakh is celebrated in West Bengal and Bangladesh and is a festival dedicated to the parades and cultural programs. But the state famous for intellectual talents as much as for commercial ones, also celebrates on this day the goddess of wealth Lakshmi and the god Ganesh calls to close the accounting year, inviting the insolvent to come forward with the debt due and refreshments of conciliation.

Bestu Varas in Gujarat falls the day after Diwali. So the Gujaratis continue to party and eat in good company. According to legend, on this day Lord Krishna took shelter in the Govardhan mountain to save men and cattle by a disastrous storm. The god of the mountain are offered prayers early in the morning, and then burst the much loved fireworks to greet the new year and the beginning of the harvest.

The Spring festivals inherently is about celebration of the season and beginning the traditional new year with music, dances and food among friends, family and relatives. These SMS'es are great way to remain connected with your friends, family and relatives in today's busy world and get lost in the beauty of the season. At the end of the day nothing could be more meaningful than a warm hug or a face to face wish among near and dear ones.

The Indian New Year, also known as Baisakhi or Vaisakhi in the northern regions, celebrates the annual feast of the colorful country, bringing enthusiasm among young people. The party, a pledge by the end of agricultural crops, falls on the first day of the month of Vaisakh during 15 April from which the name of Vaisakhi and is celebrated all over India with different names Rongali Bihu in Assam, Naba Barsha in Bengal, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu Pooram Vishu in Kerala, and Vaisakha in Bihar. The country celebrates the traditional New Year in various states with regional music, dance, food and celebrations of the community.


Kala said...

Another wonderfully informative post Kalyan.