span.fullpost {display:inline;}

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Welcoming Spring in India

Baisakhi of Punjab

Baisakhi is celebrated in various parts of the country as the New Year day under different names. It is also the time when the harvest is ready to cut and store or sell.

For the Sikh community, Baisakhi has a very special meaning. It was on this day that the last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, organised the Sikhs into Khalsa or the Pure Ones.

By doing so, he eliminated the differences of high and low and established that all human beings were equal.

On this day, all Sikhs come together in the ceremony of binding their turbans, reiterating their symbol as a Sikh.

Wearing yellow turbans, the Sikhs march towards the gurudwara pledging to spread Guru Gobind Singh's message as they usher in a new year.

Harvesting in Assam

The harvest festival is also celebrated in Assam as Rogali Bihu. The Assamese gamocha and japi or hat, which is a standard traditional Bihu gift, are all around at this time.

Stalls in the state are stacked with red and white handy towels, which have become popular destinations.

This year's festival witnesses over 80 self-help groups from rural Assam that have set up stalls at the North East Development Financial Institute Haat, much to the delight of shoppers.

Even the kopou phul, an orchid worn by Bihu dancers in their hair, is widely available in shops.

And certainly not to be left out are the shopping malls, which have been belting out Bihu numbers and getting shoppers into the new year mood.

Meanwhile, the Sankardev Kalashetra has brought together 150 artists from the seven sister states, who will be staging a string of performances across the city as part of the Bihu celebrations.

Celebrations in TN

The Tamil New Year is called the Varsha-i-rappu. In mythology it's the day that Lord Brahma started the creation of the universe.

The traditional New Year in the state is not just a festive time for colourful rangolis and great food.

It's also a time for Lankan Tamils to come together and usher in the New Year in Sri Lankan style, with dance, drama and songs.

It's a cultural harmony of sorts as the Sinhalese friends join them to welcome the Sinhala New Year.

Most Lankan Tamils have been living in Chennai as refugees for over a decade. Their children were born in the city as refugees and have not seen their motherland.

The advent of Viya, the New Year, has brought them a ray of hope.

Many people also start new ventures on the New Year, believing it to be auspicious since it is known to usher in joy and prosperity.

Since it is an auspicious day, a lot of Tamil film releases are slotted for this day.

Six movies of their favourite stars are likely to be released, including Ajit's Thirupathi, Partheeban's Patchakuthirai, and Bharath's Alagai Irukirai Payamai Irukirathu.

Business people generally start new account books for the New Year on this day and bonuses are often paid on the eve of the New Year.

Customs in Kerala

In Kerala, Vishu is one of the most popular festivals of Kerala. It falls on the first of Medam (March-April), which is the Malayalam New Year's Day.

The Malayalees make elaborate preparations for this day to ensure that the year ahead will be a fruitful one by following the custom of seeing the Vishu Kani (auspicious sight) early in the morning.

The heart of this festival of Kerala is the preparation of the kani, or the lucky sight or gift.

The custom of preparing the kani has been followed for generations.

The women take a large dish made of bell-metal (uruli), arrange in it a grantha (palm-leaf manuscript), a gold ornament, a new cloth, some flowers from the Konna Tree (Cassia fistula), some coins in a silver cup, a split coconut, a cucumber, some mangoes and a jack-fruit.

On either side of the dish are placed two burning lamps with a chair facing it. Family members are taken blindfolded, which is removed later for them to view the Vishu Kani.

As in other Indian festivals, a great feast at home is the high point of celebrating Vishu in Kerala.

The traditional rituals followed in the festival is believed to usher in another year of prosperity for the Keralites.

In Orissa, Baisakhi is celebrated as Pana Sankranti or Maha Vishuv Sankranti.

Since it's the first day of Baisakh and the beginning of the solar year, it is also celebrated as the Oriya new year.

A number of cultural and keertan groups celebrated Pana Sankranti in Bhubaneswar. The event also featured Kansa maharaj of Bargarh.

Mughal gardens

The famous Mughal Gardens along the eastern bank of the Dal Lake are also being formally thrown open to the public on the occasion of Baisakhi.

The festival marks the beginning of spring in Kashmir.

Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan, the gardens boast of breathtaking views of the Dal Lake and the snow covered peaks of the Zabarvan Hills.


Post a Comment

<< Home