Vikram Samvat- Hindu New Year
Hindu New Year is celebrated according to the Hindu Lunar Calendar- Panchanga. The popular name of the Hindu New Year is Vikram Samvat. In the Indian Calendar, seasons follow the sun, months follow the moon and days both sun and moon. This era of Vikram Samvat began in 57 BC. To correspond with the solar calendar, 57 years are subtracted from the Hindu Year. Thus, the New Year begin with the first day of Kartik Maas following Deepawali Amaavasya.
History of Vikram Samvat
The origin of Hindu New Year relates to the legendary Hindu King Vikramaditya in 57 BC. According to the legend, King Gardabhilla (in 12th century CE) abducted a nun by the name of Saraswati. She was the sister of the famous Jain monk Kalakacharya. The helpless monk sought help of the Saka ruler in Sakasthana to defeat Gardabhilla. He was defeated and captivated by the Saka King. Though later released but Gardabhilla retired to the the forest where he was killed by a tiger. His son, Vikramaditya (brought up in the forest) later invaded Ujjain and pushed out the Sakas. Thus, to celebrate this event, he commemorated a new era called Vikram Samvat.
Hindu New Year Celebrations
Multifarious religions are practiced in India and so are the celebrations of various festivals. Hindu New Year is celebrated with gaiety and pomp all over India. Verve of the festival can be seen mostly among the people of North India and Gujarat. New Year in Southern India also emphasize the Hindu New Year but the date and New Year traditions vary.
Punjab : New year starts on 13th April.
Assam : New year starts on 14th or 15th of April.
Bengal : New year starts on 14th or 15th April.
Gujarat : New Year starts on Karthik Shukla Pratipada.
Kerala : New year starts in the month of Medam (on the day when the Sun enters in the constellation Leo).
Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka : New Year falls on Chaitra Shuddha Prathipade.
Sikkim : New Year starts on 18th day of the 10th month of the Tibetan Lunar Calendar.
Maharashtra : New Year starts in the month of Chaitra
Tamil Nadu : New year starts on 13th or 14th of April.
People light oil lamps and decorate the house with auspicious flowers those with the color like pink, red, purple or yellow. Rangoli design is also an attractive part of New Year decorations. Indians get up early in the morning, take bath and wear new clothes. They bring home deities of Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of wealth) and Lord Ganesha. Prayers are offered and prasad is distributed among the family members. At the time of New Year, gifts and sweets are exchangd with each other. People consider this festival to be an auspicious time to begin New Year.