FRIDAY, MARCH 23: New Year’s comes to India today!
In a festival known as Yugadi (spellings vary), a Hindu tradition in which many people across India mark the beginning of a new year. The term “Yugadi” contains the deep meaning of this special day: “Yuga Adi” means “the beginning of a new age,” and the current age, according to Hindu mythology, is Kali Yuga. Legend states that Kali Yuga began at midnight on Feb. 18, 3102 BCE—the moment Lord Krishna left the earth. (Wikipedia has details.) In this age of Kali Yuga, Indians greet one another today on the new day of a new year.
The Hindu lunisolar calendar begins with the month of Chaitra; on the first day of Chaitra, Hindus begin with a ritual bath and prayers. Throughout the day, Indians gather the signs of spring—Neem buds and flowers, and mango—along with four other ingredients, to create a mixture to signify life. (Learn more from TajOnline.) The six ingredients symbolize life’s mixture of experiences, just as the tastes of the ingredients differ—bitterness, sweetness, sourness and spice, just to name a few. The scent of Jasmine wafts through the air, clean homes shine and poetry is recited. People gather to hear New Year predictions at the end of the day, whether in a temple or in front of a television, and priest-scholars consult an almanac to make the predictions.
Interested in greeting someone for Ugadi in 2012? Say this: “Sri Nandana Nama Shubhakankshalu!” (Interested in who won the 42 esteemed awards for service today? Check out the article in The Hindu.)