31 march 2014 Vikram Samvat 2071
Chaitra Shukla Pratipada is the first day in the month of Chaitra, Hindi Lunar Calendar. It is the beginning of the New Year of Vikram Samvat our Vedic Hindu Calendar. This calendar is based on the movement of moon and is widely followed by a large number of priests and astrologers in India. The famous Vikram Samvat is based on the day when Vikramaditya defeated Sakas and invaded Ujjain. He called for a new era. Under his supervision astronomers formed new calendar based on luni-solar system that was very much near to accuracy, was released that is still followed in the Northern regions of India.
Vikram Samvat begins on Chaitra shukla pratipada also known as chaitra Navratri, the beginning of new year. Festivals like Navratri, Gudi padwa and Ugadi are also celebrated on this day.
Chaitra Navratri in North India
Chaitra Navratri, also known as Basant or Vasant Navratri, is the nine days festival dedicated to the worship of Goddess Shakti. Chaitra Navratri starts from the first day of Shukla Paksh in the month of Chaitra and end on the ninth day on Ram Navami. Since Lord Rama was born on the ninth day in the month of Chaitra, hence these Navratras are also known as Ram Navratras.
Navratri, the beginning of the New Year begins by offering salutations to Devi Durga – who is seated on lion and known as symbol of power and victory. The prayers are held for nine days and nine nights therefore known as Nav ratri. Devotees keep fast and perform prayers in the glory of Durga Devi and celebrate navratri with full enthusiasm. The first day of the celebration is the first day of the Hindu New Year too, is celebrated throughout India with great enthusiasm. During this day barley is planted in a mud pot along with prayers offered to Lord Ganesha and Devi Parvati. After the sacred ghat sthaapan – prayers are offered to Devi Durga that is concluded with aarti and distribution of Prasad. Many people in North India keep fast for nine days to appease Goddess Durga. It is followed by the celebration of Ram Navami– birth day of Lord Rama.
Ugadi in Andhra & Karnataka
The Telugu and the Kannada New Year falls on the first day of the month of Chaitra. People in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka states in the South of India believe that Lord Brahma began the creation of the universe on this auspicious day of Ugadi.
Gudhi Padwa in Maharashtra & Goa
In Maharashtra, the new year is celebrated as Gudhi. Early on the morning of the first day of the Chaitra month, people finish their ablutions, wear new clothes and decorate their houses with colorful “rangoli” patterns. A silk banner is raised and worshipped, and greetings and sweets are exchanged. People hang “gudhis” on their windows on this day to celebrate Mother Nature’s bounty. A “gudi” is a decorated pole with a brass or a silver vessel placed on it.
Cheti Chand the Sindhi Thanksgiving Day
The Sindhis celebrate Cheti Chand on their New Year day which coincides with Gudhi Padwa in Maharashtra and Ugadi in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Cheti Chand falls on on the first day of the month of Chaitra, also called ‘Cheti’ in Sindhi. This day is observed as the birthday of Jhulelal, the patron saint of the Sindhis. On this day, Sindhis worship Varuna, the water god and observe a number of rituals followed by feasts and devotional music.