The Hindi New Year is a by-product of the cultural diversity of India that is also reflected on the different calendars of the country. The calendars being used for the religious festivals include different calendars from Buddhists, Jains and Hindus. The Muslims follow the Islamic calendar, but the government mostly uses the Gregorian calendar for administrative purposes.
There was a huge confusion over the different calendars in use, but the government decided to put a stop to it in 1957.
The National calendar of India
The Calendar Reform Committee set up India s present day national calendar in 1957. It is a lunisolar calendar, which has leap years coinciding with the leap years of the Gregorian calendar. The months in the calendar have been named after the conventional Indian months. This calendar came into being with the Saka Era in Chaitra 1, 1879 (March 22, 1957).
Significance of the Saka Era
The original period for the Indian civil calendar is the Saka Era. The Saka Era is a traditional epoch of the Indian chronology, which began with the ascension of King Salivahana to the throne. The era is also important for the most number of astronomical works in Sanskrit literature (post 500 A.D.).
The Hindu calendar or the Panchang
The Panchang is the Hindu calendar and is auspicious to the Hindus in calculating the festival dates and for performing the rituals. Originally based on the moon movements, the Hindu calendar was inspired by the Greek and Babylonian astronomical ideas. This made both lunar and solar movements considerable in the calculation of dates.
The Hindu calendar has 12 months in a lunar year. A lunar month will be having two fortnights and would begin with the new moon or the amavasya .
The Indian National Calendar has regional variations in spite of being the official calendar for Hindus. Thus, there are a series of Hindi New Year celebrations in different regions of India.
The New Years all over India
In Nepal, the Hindus celebrate New Year on the third week of March. The Hindu Kashmiris have their New Year in the second week of March. However, the Hindus of the south Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka celebrate the New Year in late March or early April.
For the Bengalis, the New Year falls around mid-April. It is the Poila Baishakh. It is a state holiday in West Bengal and a national holiday for Bangladesh.
The New Year Celebrations
The Hindi New Year celebrations include the cleaning of the houses and the buying of new clothes. In certain parts of India, the New Year celebrations include the making of the rangoli designs. The people visit the houses of friends and relatives for exchanging greetings, gifts and sweets.
So, the Hindi New Year arising from the Indian National Calendar is quite complex, due to the regional differences that are created in the New Year dates.