Happy new year, solar calendar way

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 14 April 2015 | 22.23

Several communities that observe new year by the solar calendar are preparing to celebrate April 14-15 amid feasting and festivity. The advent of Vaishakh or Vishubh Sankranti marks the turn of the calendar for natives of Punjab, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Assam and Kerala. Some celebrations:

Baisakhi | April 14

The foremost festival of the Punjabi calendar is being celebrated on April 13-14. Celebrations by the Maharashtra Sikh Association and Punjabi Heritage Cultural Board were held in Bandra and Andheri on April 11 owing to the weekend holiday. But the Sikhs of Lokhandwala gathered on Monday.Bhangra and gidda performances were followed by a feast that demonstrated the community's love for food.

Puthandu | Tamil Nadu (April 14)

Tamilian households across the city, particularly in South Indian enclaves like Sion Matunga, are preparing to welcome new year at Puthandu on Tuesday. After they adorn the threshold of the house with traditional rice flour rangoli, women prepare a range of bitter, sour and sweet dishes, including neem rasam, salad pachadi and appam. Families visit the temple wearing new clothes and return home to light the holy lamp. Mohana Iyer of the Vashi Fine Arts Society plans to visit the Ayyappa temple with her husband who is from Palghat. The family will celebrate Puthandu and Vishu simultaneously.The Tamil Nadu government had "shifted" new year to Pongal some years back but not all accepted the revision.

Bishubha Sankranti | Orissa (April 14)

The community will celebrate it on Saturday as it falls on April 14, a working day. A grand function has been organised at Orissa Bhavan in Navi Mumbai. Dr Kananika Tripathi, head of the Bombay Odia Women's Association (BOWA) since 23 years, says, "Our Bishubha Milan programme draws hundreds of people for its ethnic flavour. We serve classic bel fruit sherbet and the delectable manda peetha sweet, which resembles modak. This year, we are staging a comedy that has been sourced from the cultural department of Orissa." Students of the community-run Utkarsha dance academy will perform the Odissi Dashavtar dance led by Guru Shakti Nayak.

Rongali Bihu | Assam (April 14-15-16)

The month of Vaishakh is called Bohag in Assam, so the three-day festival of Rongali Bihu is also termed Bohag Bihu. The Assam Association will host a Rongali Bihu celebration with 'Bihu gaan' and 'hosuri' dance at the Cidco Hall in Navi Mumbai on April 18.Around 650 people are expected to attend. S P Borthakur, former vice president of the association, says, "The first day or Goru Bihu is dedicated to worshipping and adorning cows and livestock, the second for Manuh or human beings, the third for Gosain or God. This is when we start using handheld fans to signal the change in season, and share vegetables with neighbours as a gesture of goodwill. We visit religious places and seeking blessings from family elders." He says turmeric water is prepared for bathing so the skin can be purified. Housewives cook ethnic sweets, including various peetha made from black sesame, rice or coconut.

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