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In many greeting cards and wishes for Deepavali, I have seen people also wish a Happy New Year. The only New Year that I'm familiar with occurs around Holi in the springtime around March (Chaitra in the Vikram Samvat calendar).

Looking on Wikipedia, I see that a few regions celebrate their New Year on or around Deepavali (Marwari, Gujarati, and Nepali). It seems that in aggregate, these groups would be a small percentage of the people both India-wide and worldwide that celebrate Deepavali, yet it is striking to me that the New Year wishes come from people I know who are not a part of any of these groups.

Looking at other websites, I have found the claim:

Diwali or Deepawali, is not only festival of lights, but also marks the beginning of the Hindu new year.

Is this referring the the 3 New Years celebrations from the Wikipedia article or other New Years celebrations? How widespread is the acceptance that Deepavali is the beginning of the/a new year? If Deepavali is the new year, what about the new year around Holi (in the springtime around March)? Are these two New Years possible because they are from multiple calendars, or are they both within the same calendar?

Any clarifications on how this is so widespread are welcome answers?

Happy Deepavali.

  • It is the beginning of Gujarati New Year – Amrit Dhara Sep 23 '18 at 8:20
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According to hindu calendar, our new year falls on the first day in the month of chaitra(usually in the month of April), Chaitra is the first month in the Indian calendar as per panchang. It is celebrated by different names in India Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka, Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, chaitti in himachal pradesh, Puthandu in Tamil nadu. Diwali signifies the triumph of good over evil. As evident from mythology it is the day when lord krishna relieved the demon narakasura from the earth, lord rama returned victorious to ayodhya. It marks the beginning of a new era for the people of gujarat after narakasura was killed. Diwali is popularly known as festival of lights. The light dispels away the darkness in ourselves and give us a new ray of hope. The celebration of new year on the day of diwali can be considered from the philosophical point of view as it gives us hope by driving away the darkness of ignorance for a new beginning and is celebrated with revelation and joy.

  • Yes this is absolutely true. Gudhi padava is the new hindu year. – C Sharper Sep 23 '15 at 14:15
  • Ugadi, Gudi Padwa are together and Baishakhi a bit later are seasonal /sidereal spring time markers. Deepavali is traditionally set for financial year stock taking and opening new books. Both call for celebration :) – Narasimham Mar 30 '17 at 8:58
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New year that is wished on Diwali is financial hindu new year. The day new account books are opened. Religious hindu new year happens in march/april on first day of month of Chaitra, the day Lord Brahma created universe. In some communities which are business oriented, financial new year has acquired more prominence than religious new year.

India was an agricultural society where people would seek the divine blessing of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, as they closed their accounting books and prayed for success at the outset of a new financial year. Today this practice extends to businesses all over the Indian subcontinent, which mark the day after Diwali as the first day of the new financial year.

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/diwali/#diwali_candles.jpg

http://www.diwalifestival.org/chopda-pujan.html

Diwali is the last day of financial year in traditional Hindu business and Chopda Pujan is performed on the day on the new account books. This ritual is also known as Muhurat Puja.

http://www.14gaam.com/chopda-pujan-poojan-diwali.htm

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You are (or rather, Wikipedia is) correct in assuming that in some parts of the country, Diwali is considered the beginning of the new year. However, this is not a very widespread concept, and if someone wishes you a Happy Diwali and a Happy New Year, it is mostly because Diwali is kind of the last major festival of the present year. It is analogous to people wishing other people a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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In India people celebrate New Years in different days of a year. But most of these festivals coincide with specific days either during Harvest festivals or in March-April belt, Holi or Diwali.

Here is an incomplete list of New Year Days celebrated across various Indian states.

Belt 1: Holi – Phalguna Pournami (15 days before Ugadi) – In M.P, Rajastan, Bihar, U.P, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand

Belt 2: Ugadi/GudiPadwa/SajibuNongmaPanba,Cheiraoba/Navreh/ Thapna/ Chaitti – celebrated on Chaitra Suddha Padyami – sometimes coincides with 1st day of Spring accross the world – Karnataka, AP, Telangana/Maharashtra, Goa/Manipur/Hindus of J&K/Marwari people of Rajasthan, Haryana, most of the people in H.P. Cheti Chand – one day after Ugadi – Celebrated as New Year by Sindhis. Interestingly, Neypi is the new year of Balanese people in Indonesia which falls on the same day as Ugadi.

Belt 3: Bihu/ Puthnadu/Vishu/Mahabishuba Sankranti/Vaisakhi/Jude-Sheetal/Poila Boishakh– April 14th, 15th - in Assam/ T.N/ Kerala/ Orissa/ Punjab, Haryana/ Maithili people in Nepal and India/ West Bengal and Bangladesh

All those states which have a culture of following Solar calendar (T.N, Kerala, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, etc.), have their new year in Mid-April. The 3rd belt as shown above. This calendar is followed in few other Asian countries hence this day also coincides with the traditional new year in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand.

All those whose follow lunisolar calendar, which majority of India follows, have new year as shown above in belt 1, belt 2, belt 4. But why does these dates differ?

This is because, though everybody following lunisolar calendar, it is either based on Vikrama samvatsaram (Bikram Samvat) started by king Vikramaditya or the Shaka samwat started by king Shalivahana so the day they regard as first day is different.

Differences: Saka Samvat and Vikram Samvat are two commonly used calendars in India. Saka Samvat has been adopted as an official civil calendar by India. Saka Samvat starts from 78 AD, whereas Vikram Samvat starts from 57 BC.

The first two belts of people follow the Sakha calendar.

For the people who celebrate Holi as first day, the end of month is after the full moon day (Pournami) instead of New moon day (Amavasya). Hence the 15 day gap between the New Years.

For the 2nd belt of people, the month ends with an Amavasya, and that is the reason why many people across India celebrate the Chaitra suddha Padyami as the New Year.

One exception is the Gujaratis, who follow Vikrama samvatsaram. According to the 2nd belt of people the month of Karthika or the day after Diwali is the middle day of the year i.e 6 months have already passed. But some cultures like the Gujaratis have this day as the first day and the Chaitra month as the middle month.

Hence. only Gujaratis celebrate Diwali as New Year. Most others either celebrate on Holi or Ugadi.

  • Welcome to Hinduism.SE! You should cite sources. – Keshav Srinivasan Jul 8 '15 at 4:38
  • I did not use any specific sources. It was some prior knowledge and wikipedia. I wrote a similar article on another blog. – Sas Vijay Jul 9 '15 at 20:19
  • OK, then you should cite the Wikipedia article and your blog post at least. Again, welcome to Hinduism.SE! – Keshav Srinivasan Jul 9 '15 at 21:25

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