Rabi crops

Hindu New Year: Gudi Padwa and Ugadi

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Beginnings are an epitome of hopes, happiness and immense enthusiasm. The Hindu New Year or Gudi Padwa or also called as Ugadi is widely celebrated to inaugurate the Hindu year. This is the first day of the Indian month of Chaita according to the lunar calendar. This day also marks the beginning of new season and end of the Rabi crops. People from all around India perform special rituals on this day and welcome the New Year with immense joy.

Gudi Sthapna:

The preparations for this special day include proper cleansing of the house and decorating the home at its best. The family members install the Gudi at the entrance of their residence by taking a long stick, a sacred cloth which is mainly red or yellow in colour and a Kalash. After placing the kalash it is adorned with mango leaves and flowers. This ceremony is highly sacred and considered to bring happiness, prosperity and success for the family.

Special significance:

The festival is celebrated in honour of Maratha Shivaji Maharaj, a great king who had a kingdom that spread across the entire part of western India. This is the reason people worship the Gudi which is a cloth which flies like a flag that is usually a sign of victory in an army.

This day also represents love and devotion between the wife and husband. On this day newly married daughters with their husbands are invited for special meals and resents. Thus this is the festival where families and relatives get together to celebrate the joy. Special delicacies are also prepared like Shrikhand and Poori or Puran Poli in Maharashtra and a mixture of six tastes called Ugadi Pachhadi or Bevu Bella in South India.

This year Gudi Padwa is on 8th April 2016 and we wish that it brings new ray of hope in everyone’s life.

Baisakhi: A Multi-cultural event for Indians

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shubhpuja.comThe presence of exuberant and lively events in life breaks the monotony and also provides an opportunity to get over our issues and share the blissful moments with everyone. India being a multi-cultural country, it is best known for its variety of festivals and celebrations throughout the year; which even leads to numerous events on a single day. As according to the solar calendar, the North Indians rejoice the fun-filled celebration of Baisakhi on 13th or 14th of April every year but this date is also significant due to so many other major events. Let’s explore a few of them along with the true meaning of this festival.

Auspicious Day for other Cultures:

  • Rongali Bihu’ in Assam, ‘Naba Barsha’ in Bengal, ‘Puthandu’ in Tamil Nadu and ‘Pooram Vishu’ in Kerala is also cherished widely on the same day as Baisakhi.
  • It is marked as a day of enlightenment or Nirvana of Lord Budha, so considered highly valuable for Buddhists.
  • Both the Bengalis and Sikh communities mark this day as New Year or Nab Varsha, so revere it with faith and enjoyment.
  • Hindus believe that Goddess Ganga descendent on mother Earth, thousands of years ago; so many of them gather at the religious banks of river Ganga for a holy dip on this day to honour her presence.
  • Swami Dayanand Sarsawati founded the reverend Arya Samaj Mission on this day in 1875 and created history for the forthcoming years.
  • The day of celebration for farmers as it marks the time for harvest of rabi crops.
  • 14th April is also observed as the birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

Religious significance for Sikh community:

High religious sentiments of Sikhs are attached to this festival because it was on this very day in 1699, the tenth Sikh Guru- Guru Gobind Singh Ji created oneness among humanity by organizing Khalsa Pantha (Order of the pure ones). He also named his 5 most beloved devotees as ‘Panj Piare’ after the pious baptism ceremony with Amrit (sacred nectar of immortality).

So this date holds a number of significant events on the memorable chapters of history and provides a reason of celebration for all the communities in India. Special Baisakhi fairs and Nagar Kirtan processions are organized along with music, dance, food and gracious blessings.

Loving bond between Couples: Karva Chauth and its Scientific Relevance

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The warmth of festive season is at its peak. Beautifully attired women, with henna applied on their hands offering prayers to Moon for the long life span of her partner (Pati-parmeshwar), is a long known tradition in Hinduism. Yea I am talking about the pious fasting of Karva-Chauth, where married women fast for the long life of their husbands and maintain peace and prosperity among the family relations. Numerous beliefs and sentiments have been attached to this festival, varying as per geographical relevance and traditions.

When is Karva Chauth celebrated?shubhpuja.com

Literally ‘Karva’ mean earthen oil lamp and ‘Chauth’ means four; thus this festival falls on the fourth day of the Kartik month according to the Hindu calendar. It is generally observed eight days after Dussehra. This is also the time when the onset of Rabi crops begin, so people used to gather together to wish and pray for a good harvest in this season.

Origin of Karva Chauth:

The initial significance of fasting on the day of karva Chauth was entirely different than what it has emerged with years. This festival was celebrated to symbolise the loving relationship between the bride and other women in her in-laws, who would be best-friends or sisters for life. As the girl was away from her parents and could not share her emotions with anyone in her in-laws, so she searched for her support and became friend with another lady. Now she could freely discuss her marital life as well as other stories, which leads to a strong bond between them. This festival was a signal to celebrate and honour their friendship between god-friends or god-sisters. Later the sentiments of fasting for the longevity of her husband were attached to this.

Scientific relevance of Karva Chauth:

The association between fasting by wife and increased life span of the husband is treated differently by various people. Few of them follow it because of traditional values and others might be reluctant and do it by force. So the clear picture is always a question wandering in our heads. Scientifically fasting has a biological relevance due to higher detoxification and protein synthesis in the body. As per the study of starvation-resistant biological program, it is proven that the stem cell potency and reproductive potential is preserved during the process. Whereas the high orgasmic frequency among human beings increase their span of living. Now if we attach both the results together, it is clear that fasting leads to longer reproductive capability among females and thus more sexual activity during her long life. It directly affects her partner, thus increasing his life expectancy.shubhpuja.com

Along with this, praying to Moon during Kartik month has extra benefits as the coolness and calmness provides us with better body metabolism. The heat and energy in the body is controlled which in turn is concerned with the digestive, enzymatic, and endocrine systems.

Thus the nirjalahaar (without food and water) vrat along with ‘sargi’ (food before observing fast) and ‘baayna’ (gifts offered to in-laws) results in maintaining a precious bond between families. It provides will power to the females and reciprocates their love for her husband. The mythological importance has also been mentioned in Mahabharata, where Draupadi inquires about the fast from Lord Krishna.

 

Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja