Happy New Year?

Happy New Year to everyone. I’ll greet you with the same wishes in March-April (twice if you celebrate both Sankranthi & Vizhu/Baisakh in Bangalore). We have many new year days, dont worry. Somehow the charm of new year’s arrival is lost on me. I’m not a cynic or philosophic, so please hear me out.

In Western countries, which are predominantly christian, there’s no confusion. The festival frenzy starts in mid-Nov (Thanksgiving), runs through entire December and early January. People plan their annual holiday around this time. There is festivities in the air the entire December which culminates with the new Year arrival. Boston’s First Night has nothing to do with matrimony, but marks the New Year that starts at the stroke of the midnight hour. Ice Sculptures, Entertainment, Winter Competitions, Laser Shows are a part of this Night. Scotland’s Hogmanay is yet another street revelry with drinks and fireworks.

In India, we have News channels, magazines and media all declaring a new year (analysis of past one & hope for a better year etc). Modern India, despite having many Indian Calendars, follows old Julius and his timetable. However being inherently Indian, we also follow with equal fervour, Sankranti – celebrate with ‘yellu-bella’  and declare the same new year right after 3 months. Or if you are a Bengali/Tamilian/Nepali/Punjabi, the new year is in April(Vizhu/Baisakh).  And if you are a trader, all these doesn’t matter. Its just one Diwali to the next. So I’m lost. Now which year are we in?



  1. Purnima Coontoor says:

    That’s exactly why our country is so fascinating- for us, any time is a time for celebration- all our festivals recognise and celebrate the the change in nature’s rhythm- why- we even celebrate sunrise and sunset and everything in between with shlokas and poojas to be performed at different times of the day! Classical music has different raagas to be sung at different hours! It was Swami Vivekanada who said- only an Indian can wake up, bathe, eat and sleep religiously!

    We do not and need not follow the strict timetable set by western standards- enjoy only on weekends, take a big break only during Xmas-new year hols etc. It works for them, not for us.

    So why fret? the more the merrier- enjoy our frequent merry-making- I for one would never want it any other way! Jai Hind!

  2. Poornima Dasharathi says:

    Well said. I’d also like to know which Baisakhi/Sankranthi year we’re in. Unfortunately, our media doesn’t hype these new years so much as the roman calendar.

  3. Purnima Coontoor says:

    I’m not sure you are serious, but here goes-

    According to the Lunar Calendar we are right now at the tail end of the Sarvadhari Samvatsara , some 5024 years into Kaliyuga. Makara Sankranti (celebrated in southern India) on 14th Jan marks the ascent of the sun into the sign of Capricorn, his upward/northward journey through the upper signs (from Capricorn to Cancer) called Uttarayana- marking the end of winter and onset of spring and summer. It is a time for harvesting of certain crop like sugarcane, sweetpotato etc, and preparing the ground for spring for sowing fresh crop (march onwards.) The reason why we eat yellu-bella is to raise our body heat in this cold season- the others stuff is added to enhance the taste of the preparation.

    Spring is celebrated as Ugadi or the start of another new year in the lunar calendar- this year it falls on 27th March and the new year will be called Virodhi Samvatsara.

    Similarly different areas in India (and the world) have their cycle of seasons as per their geographical location, I guess.

    This is according to my limited knowledge, and I am open to correction.

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