The blossoming mangoes, the litchi, the peeled branches of the grains, the ripe wheat, and the melodious song of the beautiful black coyote, which signals the arrival of spring, seem to convey the message of Happy New Year to all the Nepalese. New Year is the first day of the calendar and the beginning of the year. New Year is celebrated on the 1st of Baishakh in those places where people follow Vikram Sambat calendar including Nepal and on the 1st of January in those places where people follow Gregorian calendar (AD).
In Nepal, New Year starts with the sunny day of Baishakh 1st and ends with the sowing of rain, RopaiJatra, and the brightness of Dashain, Tihar. There are many other things in between, including special dates and countless festivals that adorn Nepali society with realistic images of their traditions, culture, and way of life.
According to the VikramSamvat calendar, the New Year is celebrated on the 1st of Baishakh as per solar standard and on the day of Chaitra Shukla Pratipada as per the lunar standard.
VikramSambat is a calendar based on the Hindu calendar. This calendar is vogue in countries like Nepal and India. This is the official calendar in Nepal. It is a solar calendar based on ancient Hindu tradition and Vedic chronology. It is 57 years, 8 months and 15 days ahead of the Gregorian calendar. According to this calendar, the year starts from the first day of Baishakh in Nepal and the first day of Chaitra in India.
Vikramsamvat, started by the ancient king Vikramaditya, is also a formal, official sambat of Nepal, which has been formally practiced in Nepal since the time of Chandra Shamsher. Since Bikram Samvat is related to the Sun, it is also called a calendar which is based on the solar system. As a result, months of this calendar are also associated with the name of the planet and constellations.
Nepal Sambhat was started by ShankdharSakhwa. Nepal Sambat was run on 936 BS and 20 October 879 AD in the offices of Nepal on the orders of King Raghab Dev of Bhaktapur. In Nepal, it was formally in use till the tenure of Bikram Sambat by Chandra Samsher Rana.
According to the character based on the lunar month of Sambhat, the first day of worship is on the day of Kartik Shukla PakshaPratipada (KachlathvaParu) and according to the character based on the solar month, the first day is on the day of Kachla 1 (October 20). This day is especially celebrated by the Newar community as New Year.
Lhosar is a festival celebrated by Tamang, Sherpa, Gurung, Thakali and other castes as the beginning of the New Year. In the word ‘Lhochhar’, ‘Lho’ means year or year, while ‘Chhar’ or ‘Sar’ means new. Hence Lhosar means ‘New Year’. The community that celebrates Lhosar believes that ‘lho’ means twelve years.
Each Twelve-years is named after animals and beasts such as mouse, cow, tiger, cat, eagle, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, bird, dog, pig. After the end of twelve years, the year is counted by repeating the same name. Thus, this community may have envisioned an era of twelve years.
According to Yale Samvat, New Year is celebrated on the day of Maghe Sankranti.
AD is a year based on the Gregorian calendar or the Christian calendar. According to this calendar, the New Year begins on January 1. Although this day is celebrated as a New Year by special Christians, it is celebrated in almost all countries of the world today.
How is it celebrated?
According to the prevailing tradition, various programs are organized on New Year. On this occasion, good wishes are exchanged, friends and relatives gather together, forest feast is organized, worship is done in the temple, and sweets are eaten and celebrated with joy. There is also a public holiday on this day. On this day, it is believed that people will correct their bad activities of the past, and be inspired to work in the field with new vigor for economic, social and cultural development.
The Hilly, Terai and Mountain regions welcome the New Year with great enthusiasm and exchange happiness by eating sweets and bringing goods. It is believed that what happened in the first 3 days of Baishakh and what is done is repeated throughout the year. So, people try to focus on better things by making themselves and their loved ones happy. Wishes like Happy New Year to all etc. can be heard and seen on TV, radio, and newspapers.
From exchanging poetry and greeting cards to pictures of movie heroes and heroines in school life, to greetings on Facebook and Twitter, New Year celebration has changed a lot. However, the taste of Sel Roti made by mother on this day with various homemade pickles still remains the same. Similarly, red lines drawn on calendars on the count of returning days of loved ones from the deserts of the Gulf, also show the New Year’s excitement and dedication. I believe that every New Year will be auspicious, right, healthy, and prosperous to Nepalese.
-Article written by: Kusum Kharel for Land Nepal