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Yesterday, it was seen how some Hindus were overexcited in celebrating the Christian New Year in a typical European fashion. Yet the same enthusiasm is absent while observing the Hindu New Year, which is mostly limited to rather non-religious activities like carrying out processions, cleaning houses, eating good food & wearing new clothes. This might be due to ignorance about the related rites, as New Year celebrations aren't mentioned much in religious literature. So what is the proper way to ritualistically observe Hindu New Year ?

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  • Nice question. Even i was discussing about the same with some of my friends the previous day about the same viz the baisakh nava varsha. 😊👍🌞.. Jan 2, 2023 at 8:55
  • There is no single Hindu new year (different parts in India observe it in different times of the Gregorian cal.). And its celebration depends on family traditions and region. It doesn't have a single coded type of way to celebrate. So, there is no single proper way, instead there are many ways which are considered proper in different parts by different families/clans.
    – Bingming
    Jan 2, 2023 at 9:41
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    Well, that's about true in a sense i guess cz in bengali, assamese, etc the year starts with vaishakh and in odia, maratha, etc its from chaitra. But, none the less monts are almost same. So, people should remember their own cultural new year. Yeah we celebrate it with new cloths, pakwans, pitha, ganesh puja, building straw houses n burning it later at morning, after spending n celebrating a night in it with families n friends, wishing everyone, giving gifts, respecting elders n giving blessings to younger ones, etc etc, but not as huge as the Christian new year. N that's kinda sad. Jan 2, 2023 at 11:17
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    Opz, odia also celebrates it in sankranti only. Its gujrat actually but i guess they also celebrate in kartik. Well. Happy New Jesus Year. Jan 2, 2023 at 11:43
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    .🕉️🙏🏳️🔱⚡⭕🚩🇮🇳☮️. Jan 2, 2023 at 11:45

1 Answer 1

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New Year according to the Hindu lunar calendar, falls on Caitra śuklā pratipada.

Viṣṇudharmottara Purāṇa prescibes the worship Brahmā in the morning on that day after keeping a fast on the previous day alongside His āvaraṇa-devatās & other deities of time & donation of gold.

The other deities to be worshipped on the New Year according to the Nīlamata Purāṇa are

  1. The 9 grahas
  2. The 28 nakṣatras
  3. The 14 manus
  4. The 14 Indras
  5. The 4 yugas
  6. The 5 saṁvatsaras
  7. The 2 ayanas
  8. The 6 seasons
  9. The 12 months
  10. The 2 pakṣas
  11. The 16 tithis
  12. The 11 karaṇas
  13. The 30 muhūrtas
  14. The 12 raśis
  15. The 4 aims of life
  16. The 4 dikpālas
  17. The 8 lokapālas accompanied with their wives, children & hordes
  18. The daughters of Dakṣa alongside their respective husbands.
  19. Kuvera accompanied with the treasures Śaṅkha & Padma, his wives Ṛddhi & Siddhi , son Nalakuvara & yakṣas
  20. Garuṛa accompanied by Aruṇa, birds & serpents
  21. The 7 dvīpas
  22. The 7 oceans
  23. The 7 varṣas
  24. The 7 underworld realms
  25. The 7 lokas
  26. The 5 tattvas
  27. The supporters of the Earth (Kālagnirudra, Ādhāraśakti, Kūrma & Śeṣa)
  28. The mountains
  29. The rivers
  30. The tirthas
  31. The 7 metres
  32. Skanda accompanied by Śākha, Viśākha & Naigameya
  33. Gaṇeśa accompanied by vināyakas
  34. Airavata accompanied by elephants
  35. Suravī accompanied by cattle
  36. Uccaiḥśravā accompanied by horses
  37. Fever personified accompanied by other diseases
  38. The scriptures personified alongside their promulgators
  39. Sarasvatī accompanied by the personifications of the Vedas, Upavedas & Vedaṅgas
  40. The apsarās accompanied by the gandharvas
  41. The vālakhilyas
  42. The 7 sages
  43. Kaśyapa, Agastya & Nārada
  44. The 2 Aśvins
  45. The 12 Ādityas
  46. The 8 vasus
  47. The 12 sādhyas
  48. The 12 Bhārgavas
  49. The 10 Āṅgirasas
  50. Viśvakarmā

[The list turns out to be roughly synonymous with those who attend Brahmā's court mentioned in the Sabhāparva of Mahābhārata]

All of them are to be propitiated by homa with ghee, raw rice grains, raw barley grains & sesamum followed by feeding of brāhmaṇas & wearing of new clothes.

Viṣṇudharmottara Purāṇa also mentions the following vratas to be performed on that day

  1. Initiation of Brāhmipratipatvrata - This involves the votary worshipping Brahmā on every śuklā pratipada day for the entire year, ending on the next Caitra suklā pratipada by donation of a cow to a brāhmaṇa.

  2. Initiation of Tṛmūrtivrata - This involves the votary worshipping Brahmā on the first day accompanied with homa with kṣīra (condensed milk), consumption of only curd on that day & donation of a kṣīra-filled iron vessel with gold to a brahmaṇa, worshipping Viṣṇu on the second day accompanied by donation of tṛlauha (gold, silver & copper) to a brāhmaṇa, worshipping Rudra on the third day accompanied by homa with ghee, complete abstinence from food & donation of a ghee-filled iron vessel with gold to a brāhmaṇa and special bath on the fourth day accompanied by donation of tṛmadhu (ghee mixed with honey & sugar) to a brāhmaṇa & consumption of the same. This same procedure is to be repeated on every 1st 3 days of the bright half of the fortnight throughout the year.

  3. Initiation of Puruṣapratipatvrata - This involves the votary worshipping Viṣṇu, recitation of Puruṣasūkta while immersed in water, performing tarpaṇa of Viṣṇu 8 times, performing homa with ghee, donation of gold to a brāhmaṇa & consumption of only milk at night. This is to be repeated in every pratipada day in both halves of the fortnight throughout the year.

  4. Initiation of Prakṛtipuruṣavrata - This involves the votary worshipping Viṣṇu in fire & Lakṣmī in water accompanied by homa with kṣīra mixed with ghee & donation of gold & silver to a brāhmaṇa. This is to be repeated on every śuklāpratipada day throughout the year.

Nīlamata Purāṇa describes the following preparatory rites of New Year

  1. Leaving food offerings for piśācas in tree-shades, cowsheds, places where 4 roads meet, highways, abandoned houses, riverbanks, mountain peaks & śmaśānas at the night of Caitra kṛṣṇā caturdaśī after worshipping Nikumbha, the king of piśācas & keeping awake throughout the night by enjoying music & dance
  2. Feeding dogs after performing the regular pārvaṇa-śrāddha on Caitrī amāvasyā

Nīlamata Purāṇa also recommends performance of grahaśāntiyagña, nakṣatraśāntiyagña & mahāśāntiyagña on this day.

Quoting various Smṛti texts, Nirṇayasindhu mentions the following rites to be observed on this day

  1. Refraining from applying oil during bath
  2. Donating a water-fountain or a water-filled pot to a brāhmaṇa.
  3. Initiation of Caitra Navarātri

New Year according to Hindu solar calendar falls on Meṣa saṁkrānti, which is celebrated by Bengali (Pohela Boisakh), Axomiya (Bohag Bihu), Maithili (Jur Shital), Odia (Pana Samkranti), Tamil (Puthandu) & Malayali (Vishu) Hindus. Since most of the Hindu rituals are observed on the basis of the Hindu lunar calendar, celebration of the Hindu solar new year is without much liturgical pomp. Rites specific to saṁkrānti days (performing special śrāddha & donating pots filled with eatables to a brāhmaṇa) are prescribed for this day.

Gudi Padwa as observed by Marathi Hindus appears to be remnant of the Śakradhvaja ceremony. This ceremony was to be performed only by kings & involved hoisting a flag consecrated to Indra for maintaining sovereignty.

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