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Chanting  Mantras helps us to calm our minds and also creates a spiritual vibration in and around us. Correct pronunciation is very important to produce right result. These videos help us to chant Mantras properly.



Courtesy: youtube
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Great Masters of the mankind always taught people through stories to drive home a spiritual truth. Ramana Maharishi too is not exceptional. He told many stories to his devotees. Here are some of the stories told by him.

             1. Parvati's Test

Rama and Lakshmana were wandering in the forest in search of Sita. Rama was grief-stricken. Just then Siva and Parvati happened to pass close-by. Siva saluted Rama and passed on.

Parvati was surprised and asked Siva to explain why He, the Lord of the Universe, being worshipped by all, should stoop to salute Rama, an ordinary human who having missed his consort was grief stricken and moving in anguish in the wilderness looking helpless.

Siva then said, “Rama is simply acting as a human being would under the circumstances. He is nevertheless the incarnation of Vishnu and deserves to be saluted. You may test him if you choose.”

Parvati considered the matter, took the shape of Sita and appeared in front of Rama, as he was crying out the name of Sita in great anguish.

He looked at Parvati appearing as Sita, smiled and asked, “Why Parvati, are you here? Where is Sambhu? Why have you taken the shape of Sita?”

Parvati felt abashed and explained how she went there to test him and sought an explanation for Siva saluting him.

Rama replied, “We are all only aspects of Siva, worshipping Him at sight and remembering Him out of sight.”

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2. Sweet Speech OF SATI DEVI

Sati Devi , the wife of Siva and the daughter of Daksha, gave up her life as she was insulted by her father during the yajna performed by him. She was subsequently born to Himavan and Menaka as Parvati. She wanted only Lord Siva as her husband, and to achieve that purpose she set out for doing tapas.

Menaka, while trying to prevent her from doing so said, “U (no), Ma (give up).” That is how she got the name of Uma.

Finding Menaka’s dissuasion of no use, Himavan took her to the tapovana (hermitage)  where Siva was staying in the form of Dakshinamurthy and said, “This little child of mine wants to do tapas. Please allow her to be under your care.”

Seeing Parvati, Siva said, “Why tapas at this tender age? Why not go home with father?” Parvati replied, “No, I won’t go.”

Parameswara tried to dissuade her skilfully by saying, “I have conquered prakriti (nature) and so could concentrate on this tapas. If you are to be here you will be exposed to the ravages of prakriti. So please go back.”

Parvati was equally skilful, so she said, “Oh Lord! You say you have conquered prakriti. Without some relationship with prakriti how could you do tapas? You have just spoken. How could you do that without prakriti? How could you walk? Without your knowing it, prakriti is occupying your heart. If it is not for the sake of argument, if you are really above the influence of prakriti, why are you afraid of my staying here?”

Siva was pleased with this and said, “Ingithagna! (you who are skilled in thought reading), Madhurvachani! (you who are sweet of speech) stay on!” and sent Himavan home.

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3. Tapo Bhrashta(Fallen from the state of AUSTERITY):

Nakkirar was doing tapas on the bank of a tirtha. A leaf fell down from the tree; half the leaf touched the water and the other half touched the ground. Suddenly the water half became a fish and the land-half became a bird. Each of them was united to the other by the leaf and struggled to go into its own element.

Nakkirar was watching it in wonder  and suddenly a spirit came down from above and carried him away to a cave where there were already 999 captives, all of whom were tapo bhrashtas.

Devotee: “Was Nakkirar a tapo bhrashta?”
Bhagavan: “Yes. While engaged in contemplation, why did he fall from contemplation and take to watching the mysterious happening in front of him? Nakkirar composed Tirumurukatruppadai and obtained the release of all the thousand prisoners.”

COURTESY: 'messagefrommasters.com'

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Today is Lord Mahavir Jayanthi. In his memory this is posted.
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Lord Mahavir was the twenty-fourth Tirthankara of the Jain religion. He was born 2596 years ago on the 13th day of the rising moon of Chaitra, in either 599 BC or 615 BC (depending on religious tradition) at Kundagrama in the kingdom of Vaishali, near Patna in Bihar. According to the Digambara school of Jainism, Lord Mahavir was born in the year 615 BC, but the Swetambaras believe that He was born in 599 BC. His father was Siddhartha, a chieftain of Kundagrama and his mother was Trishala. Queen Trishala saw 14 auspicious dreams when the child was in her womb.

When the child was born he was named Varthamana- he who brings prosperity, because his father’s wealth had increased during the pregnancy of the mother. He is however, popularly called Mahavir, the great hero, because he subdued his passions.

 As a young boy, Varthamana was handsome, brave and fearless. He was liked by one and all. Once he was playing with children in the mango-grove, when a huge snake curled itself around the trunk of the tree nearby. Other boys fled, but Varthamana coolly held the serpent by its hood and with a jerk threw it away like a piece of rope.

Mahavir was married to Yasoda and had a daughter according to the Shvetambara tradition. From childhood, he was very quiet, resolute and indifferent to worldly matters. Although he was surrounded by comforts and luxuries, he had a strong sense of detachment. At the age of thirty, after the passing away of his parents and with the consent of his elder brother he renounced the world and became a Shramana or a wandering monk. He vowed to remain equanimous throughout his life. He did rigorous austerities, including prolonged fasts, for twelve and half years till he achieved Kevala-Jnana [omniscience]. Mahavir faced numerous hardships and indigenous during this long Samnyasa period but he proved to be an incarnation of forbearance and became his chief disciples, and formed the forgiveness.

After attaining omniscience, Lord Mahavir began to preach, wandering from one place to the other on foot. On hearing his teachings, 11 eminent Brahmin scholars led by Indrabhuti Gautama and formed the nucleus of the religious Order. Lord Mahavir established fourfold congregation of monks, nuns, laymen devotees and laywomen devotees. In the Sangha so established, there was no difference between men and women. The women were also initiated as nuns, which was a great revolutionary step at that time.

For thirty long years, Mahavir went about preaching the religion [non-violence], Anekanta [non-absolutism] andAparigraha [non-possession]. At the age of 72 he passed away at Pavapuri in Bihar.

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India is a secular country. Many religions and cultures are present here; thus various festivals of different religions are being celebrated. It is so with New Years of different regions of India also. It is interesting to note that different State of India has different New Year tradition and religious festival. Thus there are Assamese New Year, Bengali New Year, Gujarati New Year, Hindu New Year, Kannada/ Telugu New Year, Malayalam New Year, Marathi New ear,Marwari New Year, Punjabi / Sikh (Nanakshahi) New Year, Tamil New Year etc. This occasion signifies the Sun's transit to the zodiac - Mesha Raasi (first zodiac sign) as per Indian astrological calculations and astronomically represents the vernal equinox. An overall look at these various traditions and cultures will be very enriching our knowledge. 

 1.     Assamese New Year: 

Bohag Bihu is the national festival of Assamese as it marks the beginning of the New Year. Rituals and customary practices of Bohag Bihu start from April 13. There are three forms of a Bihu festival namely Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu (in the middle of April), Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu (middle of January) and Kaati Bihu or Kongali Bihu (in October/ November). Bohag Bihu is the most important day of all the three Bihu festivals. This day begins with the sowing of seeds, Kaati Bihu marks the complete process of sowing and transplanting of paddies, and the Magh Bihu marks the end of the harvesting period. 

Bohag Bihu reflects the coming of spring and usually falls on April 15 every year. It is celebrated with distinctive Bihu dances. People are in full form and dance on various Bihu geets called husuris. This festival lasts for several days. People wear new and 
traditional clothes like dhoti, gamocha and saadar mekhela.

The first day of Bohag Bihu is called Goru Bihu or Cow Festival. Cow being the holy Hindu animal is washed, bedecked and worshiped on this day. On the eve of Bohag Bihu, the womenfolk clean clothes and prepare special Bihu delicacies like 'Chira' & 'Pitha' while men collect necessary items like 'Tara Pogha' (ropes for the cattle). This day is followed by Manuh (human) Bihu on April 15, the New Year Day on which homage is paid to elders and relatives. The next day after this is called Gosain Bihu. On this day religious activities take place. 

Bohag Bihu is a dance festival. Groups of boys and girls beat drums and perform their traditional dance. Bihu fairs are organised to perform Bihu songs, theatrical performances and dance. Best woman dancer is awarded the title of Bihu Kunwori. Bihu festival has become such a major festival that even books, audio and video cassettes have come up in large numbers narrating the festival events. 

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2.   Bengali New Year:

On New Year Day people in Bengal wish each other saying "Shubo Nabo Barsho".
This festival usually falls in the month of April [15th] which is the month of Baisakh, first month of Bengali New Year. The festival of Nabo Barsha was introduced by the great Mughal Emperor, Akbar. This festival is celebrated with great deal of enthusiasm and energy by the people of Bengal and also by the Tribal people in hilly areas. For them, it is the time to say adieu to the past year and welcome New Year by following religious norms.

Traditions and Customs:
Almost all Bengalis decorate their houses with fresh flowers and draw rangolis in front of the entrance door. Rangolis are usually made of colored rice and it is known as "Alpana". An earthen pot bearing the symbol of Swastika is kept in the middle of rangoli. It is believed to bring in wealth and symbolizes a prosperous New Year. 

On this day, women wear traditional Red and White Sari while men wear dhoti kurta to take part in the early morning processions called Prabhat Pheries. Some even go to the nearby river for a holy dip to wash away all the sins.

After this idols of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi are worshiped for the well-being and longevity of the family members. Praying to the Clouds for water is another popular ritual of the Bengali New Year. As per the tradition, people are supposed to pay off all the loans and old dues with the customers are to be settled. On this day, Bengali businessmen purchase new accounts books and prepare new accounts called as Haalkhata. At some places, people also perform dances, sing songs or recite Bengali Nabo Barsho poems. Amidst all feasting, food is the main focus.

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3.   Gujarati New Year:

Gujarati New Year is celebrated among all the major festivities in the month of October. It is celebrated on the next day of Diwali. Gujarati New Year is synonymous with sudekam of the kartik month – it is the first day of first month of Gujarati calendar.

 Bestu Varas is New Year in Gujarati and Varsha-pratipada or Padwa are other names of the same. According to the legends, Lord Krishna once performed Govardhan Puja along with the people of Vraja for their protection from heavy rains. Since then, it became a tradition to worship Govardhan Parvat and celebrate this day as a New Year. 

Traditional customs and rituals are performed to welcome the New Year and bid farewell to the by gone time. It's a day of blooming desires and zest. Bestu Varas is the time to retire all the pains, sufferings and memories of past year.
New Year in Gujarat is the time to make merry. Since these celebrations are escalated at the time of Diwali, it marks a mirthful experience for all the gujjus. Almost all Gujarati houses are lighted colorfully and decorated with flowers. On this day, people dress up nicely and visit temples with flowers and mithai. Everyone wish each other New Year whilst offering prayers to God. Some temples in Gujarat also conduct a grand Govardhan Puja. 

A lavish meal at the end of the day credits the festival spirit. Most of the Gujaratis indulge in heavy eating this day. Thus, New Year in Gujarat reflects the true spirit of Indian tradition. The essence of Gujarati culture and religion can be felt in the New Year Celebrations. Love, unity and togetherness are the intangible assets of these Celebrations.

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 4.   Hindu New Year:


Hindu New Year is celebrated according to the Hindu Lunar Calendar- Panchanga. Hindu New Year is popularly known as Vikram Samvat. Current era of Vikram Samvat began in 57 BC. The New Year begins with the first day of Kartik Month (October), that is, on the festival of lights, Deepawali.

Nav Varsh Samvat is observed in all the major states of North India and is also known as Chaitra Shukladi. It is celebrated on the first day after the No Moon (Amavasi) in Chaitra Month or Chaitra Shukala Pratipada (March – April). The Hindi New Year is based on lunar calendar and therefore the date changes every year. Hindu New year Samvat 2067 will start from 16th March, 2010.

 The story behind the origin of Hindu New Year is related to the legendary Hindu King Vikramaditya who used to rule in 57 BC. The legend says, once King Gardabhilla, a ruler in 12th century CE seized a nun named Saraswati. She was the sister of the famous Jain monk Kalakacharya. The feeble monk hunted help of the Saka ruler in Sakasthana to conquer Gardabhilla. He was defeated and enthralled by the Saka King. Though he was released later on but Gardabhilla go off to the forest where he was killed by a tiger. When his son, Vikramaditya grew up he invaded Ujjain and thrust out the Sakas. Thus, to celebrate this event, he observed a new epoch called Vikram Samvat.

Hindu New Year is celebrated with gaiety and pomp throughout India.Though the vim and vigour of the festival is seen everywhere but it more verve in the people of North India and Gujarat. New Year in Southern India also emphasizes the Hindu New Year but the date and New Year traditions vary. People light oil lamps. They decorate the house with pink, red, purple or yellow fresh flowers which are considered auspicious colours. Rangoli design is also made on the floor outside the house; it is indeed very attractive part of New Year decorations.

People get up early in the morning, take bath and wear new clothes. The Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha are brought home and people welcome them by singing songs in their praise. Prayers are offered to the deities and prasad is distributed among all the family members and neighbours. People exchange gifts and sweets with each other on this merry occasion of New Year.


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5.   KanNada / TELUGU new year:

Ugadi/ Yugadi marks the advent of the Kannada / Telugu New Year. The name of the festival derived from "Yuga Aadi" which means New Age. According to the Chandramana system (Shalivahana Shaka), Telugu New Year falls on Chaitra Shuddha Prathipade. It is the first day of the Lunar calendar. Like any other religion, Telugu New Year celebrations also have a legend behind it. Hindu mythology says Lord Brahma, created universe on Chaitra Shuddha Prathipade. Since then, this day is celebrated as a New Year's Day. This year it was celebrated on 3rd April.
Yugadi specifically refers to the start of the age we are living in now, Kali Yuga. Kali Yuga started the moment when Lord Krishna left the world. Maharshi Vedavyasa describes this event with the words "Yesmin Krishno divamvyataha, Tasmat eeva pratipannam Kaliyugam". Kali Yuga began on Feb 17/18 midnight 3102 BC.

Ugadi celebrations are also blessed with Vasanth Ruthu (spring). It symbolizes new life with blooming of fresh flowers, chanting of birds and fruit laden trees. It is considered an auspicious time to venture into new projects. 


People of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka begin New Year preparations a week before
the festival. They clean their houses and surrounding areas whilst decorate it with
mango leaves. Shopping for Ugadi gifts, new clothes and other items are done with a lot
of fervor. Most of the people exchange gifts like silk sari, dhoti, pootarelullu and sweets
like kaja, pala kova etc.
On the Ugadi day, people get up early in the morning, apply coconut oil to their bodies, take a head bath and wear new clothes. Then they visit nearby temple to offer prayers to God, chant mantras and listen to Panchanga Sravanam. Priests or experts forecasts new events of the year and make people aware of the coming situations.
Traditional Ugadi Food:
All the family members and friends sit together for the traditional sauce called Ugadi Pachchadi. It is a mixture of the following products: 
  • Neem leaves which is good for patients who have diabetes and skin diseases
  • Jaggery increases haemoglobin level and sugarcane juice fights against jaundice.
  • Raw mango and Tamarind juice are consumed with almost every dish prepared by women of Karnataka and Andhra Pardesh.
Ugadi Pachchadi signifies that life is not a smooth journey. All sorrows, happiness, success and disappointment must be given due importance. All experiences have to be treated equally as it makes us learn something new every time and prepares us for the rest. It makes us develop positive attitude towards life. People also make some resolutions and pray to God for their well-being and prosperity.
In Karnataka a special dish called Obbattu or Holige, is prepared. In Andhra Pradesh, a special dish called Bhakshyalu or Bobbatlu (Polelu) (Puran Poli) are prepared on this occasion. It consists of a filling (Bengal gram and jaggery/sugar boiled and made in to a paste) stuffed in a flat roti like bread. It is usually eaten hot/cold with ghee or milk topping or coconut milk at some places of Karnataka.

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6.   Malayalam New Year:


Vishu festival or Malayalam New Year falls on the first of Malayalam month of Medam (March-April). Vishu generally falls on April 14 of the Gregoran Calendar. A number of rituals and customs are associated with the festival. It's not a pompous festival but more of a homely affair.

"Vishu" in Sanskrit means "equal". Therefore Vishu is more probably denoting one of the equinox days. Although Vishu (first of Medam) is the astrological new year day of Kerala, the official Malayalam new year falls on the first month of Chingam (August - September). However, 1st of Chingam has no significance either astrologically or astronomically. Chingam is the harvest season in Kerala and southern parts of coastal Karnataka.

Traditions and Customs:
Vishukani or Kani Kanal is the most popular tradition followed by people of Kerela. As per the popular belief, year's prosperity depends upon the type of the first object viewed in the morning. There is a list which tells about various auspicious items to be seen on Vishu morning. Ladies keep all the prescribed items ready a night before the Vishu. Normally, the responsibility to put the Kani in order falls on the experienced shoulders of the eldest lady of the house. A Cadian leaf book, gold ornaments, a new white cloth, raw rice, yellow cucumber, betel leaves, flowers of the Konna tree, halved jack fruits, holy grantha and coconut are kept in a bell metal vessel called'uruli'. Behind the vessel is kept a bell metal mirror and a Lord Krishna deity. Two lighted oil lamp called Nilavilakku is also placed alongside. The head of the family is the first person to see the holy things. Children are brought blindfold. Special care is taken that family members do not see any other thing except Vishukani. Later, Vishukani is offered to God and distributed amongst poor. Children and other young members of the family get a small gift on this day and this tradition of gift-giving is called Vishu Kaineetam.
Since the occasion marks the beginning of Malayalam New Year, it is also considered auspicious to read verses from Hindu Holy book Ramayanam after seeing the "Vishukkani". It is also believed that the page of the Ramayanam to which you open up will have a bearing on your life in the coming year. Devotees also throng the well-known temples like Sabarimala Ayyappan  Temple, Guruvayur  Sree Krishna temple to have a "Vishukkani Kazhcha" on the early hours of "Vishu" day.
Once the custom of Vishukani gets over, people take a dip in the holy water or take bath at their home and visit nearby temples to offer prayers. To celebrate the festival of Pooram Vishu, people of Kerela wear Kodi Vastram. These are new clothes specially worn on auspicious occasions. People of Kerela multiply Vishu celebrations by traditional singing and dancing. They also burst Patassu (firecrackers).

Evening time is for lavish meals. Women prepare sadya (feast). These are special dishes prepared using jackfriuts, mangoes, pumpkins and gourds. To mark Vishu, traditionally people prepare Moru Kutan - a savoury stew made with yoghurt, Payassam (Kheer), Veppampoorasam (a bitter preparation of neem) and Mampazhapachadi (a sour mango soup). Malayalam feast has an equal proportion of all tastes.

Great amount of excitement can also be seen in the villages of Kerela. Men and women dress up like Chozhi by wearing a skirt of dried banana leaves and masks on their faces. They entertain people by various traditional dances and dramas. These entertainers would move house to house collecting money to be spent in Vishuwela which is a New Year Fair in Kerela.                         

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7. Konkani /Marathi NEW YEAR:
 While the people of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh use the term Yugadi/Ugadi for this festival, the people of Maharashtra term the same festival, observed on the same day, Gudi Padwa (Marathi: गुढी पाडवा).

The festival marks the new year day for people between Vindhyas and Kaveri river who follow the South Indian lunar calendar, pervasively adhered to in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka,Maharashtra and Goa.
This calendar reckons dates based on the Shalivahana era (Shalivahana Shaka), which begins its count from the supposed date of the founding of the Empire by the legendary hero Shalivahana. The Satavahana king Shalivahana (also identified as Gautamiputra Satakarni) is credited with the initiation of this era known as Shalivahana. The Salivahana era begins its count of years from the year corresponding to 78 AD of the Gregorian calendar. Thus, the year 2000 AD corresponds to the year 1922 of the Salivahana Era. 

8.Marwari [Rajasthan] New YeaR: 

Marwaris of Rajasthan consider Diwali as their New Year. They believe Diwali to be an auspicious day to venture into new projects and thus celebrate it as New Year's day. It usually falls in the month of October - November. The Marwari New Year is celebrated with great charm and exuberance in almost all parts of Rajasthan.


Diwali celebrations begin almost a month before the festival. Ahoi Ashtami is a women's day celebrated a week before Diwali. On this day, women fast for long lives of their husbands and adorn their house doors with mirror worked hangings. The Bania - Marwari community celebrate this day very religiously. In some houses, age - old tradition of making the sketch of Ahoi Mata with geru (paste of red powder diluted in water) is followed. Sometimes, her picture is hung or made on the wall, which is layered with cow dung and a coat of fresh lime is applied. This is a holy wall of Marwaris and the prosperous Diwali puja is done in front of this wall. They worship Goddess Laxmi (goddess of wealth) and Lord Ganesha on the day of Diwali. Family members do a parikrama around the sanctum and accomplish it with the Satyanarayan Aarti. After the puja, Charnamrit - a mixture of curd, unboiled milk, tulsi leaves and sugar is given to every one present at the puja.

People often buy a silver coin as it seen as a good omen. Diwali is the time when new account books are prepared by all traders after the puja. They believe good luck and prosperity ushers when new books of accounts are opened and a betel leaf is kept in it on the New Year's Day.

Evening festivities include special Marwari meals. They feast upon ' pucca khana' (food cooked in oil or ghee). Puri, halwa and the sweet vermicelli are not to be missed food items of Marwari festival dishes.

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Mahavishuba Sankranti is observed as the Oriya New Year and is also known as Mesha Sankranthi and Pana Sankranti in the eastern state of Orissa in India. Mahavishuba Sankranti 2011 date is April 14. The day marks the beginning of the New Year in the traditional Oriya Solar Calendar. The summer season also commences from this period.

There are no major celebrations on the day. Temples conduct special pujas and rituals. The highlight of the day is the preparation of sweet drink called ‘Pana,’ which is made from fruits, milk, curd etc. Cultural programs are organized in some regions including literary meetings.
People visit various temples and offer prayers and special pujas. Mahavishuba Sankranti also marks the end of temple festivals in some regions of Orissa.          

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10. Punjabi / Sikh (Nanakshahi) New Year:

Baisakhi Festival, also called Vaisakhi, holds great importance for the Sikh community and farmers of Punjab. Baisakhi falls on April 13 or 14, the first day of the year according to the Nanakshahi Calendar. Sikhs also celebrate this day in honor of their tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Baisakhi commemorates the day when the Sikh Guru eliminated caste differences and founded Khalsa Panth in1689.

For the large farming community of Punjab and Haryana, Baisakhi marks the harvest time. Farmers celebrate it with immense fervor as they are loaded with cash at this time. Men and women run over the fields shouting "Jatta aayi Baisakhi".

Traditions and Rituals:
It is in the blood of every Sikh to follow the tradition of Baisakhi earnestly. They get up early in the morning, visit gurudwaras and offer prayers. Some people prefer to visit Golden Temple or Anandpur Sahib where Khalsa Panth was recognised. 

In most of the gurudwaras, the holy books of Sikhs are cleansed with milk and water. The granthi of the gurudwara reads the Sikh Holy Scripture and the gathering of devotees listen to it seriously. Following the tradition from the time of Guru Gobind Singhji, an amrit is prepared in an iron vessel. The gathering of devotees sips this amrit five times. Later on, ragis sing devotional songs and perform a kirtan which is leaded by an ardas in afternoon. After performing all the religious traditions, the Karah Prasad is distributed amongst the congregation. The religious ceremony accomplishes with a Guru - ka - Langar. This is meal consists of Dal Makhani, any vegetarian dish, curd, salad and a sweet dish like semonila.

Traditional songs and dances boost the spirit of the Baisakhi festival. After performing rituals in gurudwaras, people of Sikh community take out processions. The holy book of Sikhs is taken out in the processions. It is read in the holy book that the Sikh Guru asked five volunteers to sacrifice their lives, then he took each one of them into a tent and every time came out with a bloody sword but he actually sacrificed a goat. Thus, the procession is headed by five men to honor the Panj Pyaras.

Fervor and vigor of the festival can be seen in these hours’ long processions passing through various localities of the city. Sikh men and women wearing gaudy clothes perform the famous bhangra and gidda dance. Mock duels are also performed during Baisakhi processions. People carry forward the procession by chanting various hymns like 'Jo Bole So Nihal', 'Deg Teg Fateh' and 'Satnam Shri Wahe Guru'. Vaisakhi celebrations are escalated by dramatizing sword fight, beating drums and bursting crackers. In some places, early morning Prabhat Pheris also take place. At the end of the day, people express feelings of brotherhood, love, unity and also hope to celebrate the festival with same energy and enthusiasm every year.

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11. Tamil New Year- Puthandu:

The month of Chittrai (April - May) embarks the time of festivities in Tamil Nadu. Tamil's New Year Day " Puthandu"  is celebrated on 14 April every year (according to the Gregorian Calendar). People greet each other "Puthandu Vazthukal" which means Happy New Year. This auspicious day is also popular as Varusha Pirappu. As per the Hindu mythical legends, Lord Brahma started creation of the universe.

New Year in  Early Tamil Literature:
This year Tamil NewYear starts on 14 April 2011, Kaliyuga  5113.  Vikrama  and  Shalivahana  Saka eras are also used. There are several references in early Tamil literature to the April new year. Nakkirar, the author of the Nedunalvaadai writes in the 3rd century that the Sun travels from Mesha/Chitterai through 11 successive Raasis or signs of the zodiac. Kūdalūr Kizhaar in the 3rd century refers to Mesha Raasi/Chitterai as the commencement of the year in the Puranaanooru. The Tolkaapiyam is the oldest surviving Tamil grammar that divides the year into six seasons where Chitterai marks the start of the Ilavenil season or summer. The 8th century Silappadikaaram mentions the 12 Raasis or zodiac signs starting with Mesha/Chitterai. The Manimekalai alludes to the Hindu solar calendar as we know it today. Adiyarkunalaar, an early medieval commentator or Urai-asiriyar mentions the 12 months of the Tamil calendar with particular reference to Chitterai. There were subsequent inscriptional references in Pagan, Burma dated to the 11th century CE and in Sukhothai, Thailand dated to the 14th century CE to South Indian, often Vaishnavite, courtiers who were tasked with defining the traditional calendar that began in mid-April.[Source: Wikipedia]

Highlights of the Festival:
New Year's Day is a gala time for all Tamils. The main focus is on the food eaten on the day. 'Maanga Pachadi' is the pulse of the festival. It is a dish made of raw mangoes, jaggery, and neem flowers which tastes sweet, salt, sour and bitter. This entails different colors of life. It depicts that life has to face everything from success to defeat. At the time of New Year festivities, a grand Car Festival also takes place at Tiruvadamarudur near Kumbakonam. At some places, Chitthirai festival is also celebrated. It is said on this day, Goddess Meenakshi got married to Lord Sundareswarar.


In Tamil Nadu, people follow some strict rituals in a belief to ensure well-being and prosperity of their families. The most popular tradition is to view Kanni at dawn with a hope to bring good luck. People start the day by watching some auspicious items like gold and silver jewelry, betel leaves, nuts, fruits and vegetables, flowers, raw rice and coconuts. Following the rituals, Tamils take bath, wear fresh clothes and visit the temples to pray for success in life. After this, Pechanga (almanac) is read.

Many people get their houses painted to mark the renewal of life. Ladies adorn their houses with fresh mango leaves and Kollam (rangoli) designs. Sometimes, a decorated lamp kuthuvillakku is placed in the center of colorful Kollam to bring light to the house.

People in the advent of merrymaking and feasting exchange gifts with each other. Children are highly excited at the time of Puthandu as they receive small gifts or cash from their parents and relatives.

Courtesy: 'newyearfestival.com'
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