Marching into the New Year: April Fool!

Once upon a time, all over the world, everyone followed the same calendar; the Lunar Calendar. Even today, in Turkey and Iran, people follow the Lunar Calendar; March is the New Year.

Ancient cultures, including those of the Romans and Indian subcontinent, celebrated New Year's Day on or around April 1. It closely follows the vernal equinox (March 20th or March 21st.)

The conjunction of the earth, sun and moon coming in alignment near the vernal equinox every year – a perfectly balanced point in the earth-sun-moon system, was deemed by the ancient, knowledgeable people as an apt milestone to usher in a New Day, a New Year and new hopes.

New year celebrations in India

Earth, Moon and Sun in alignment near vernal Equinox – Ugadi
New year is celebrated in India in various regions in March–April. India has a variety of calendars, some are lunar based, some are based on the Sun, some are luni-solar and some are Jovian i.e. Jupiter based.

The New Year system is based on the cosmos, it begins when the Sun or the Moon enter the first point of Aries.

12 months and the Sanskrit connection


Do you know the meaning of the names of all the months? The English months are not in English; they are surprisingly connected with Sanskrit. 

Do you know what December means; Das means ten and Ambar means sky, so December means the tenth sky.

Nav means nine in Sanskrit. November means the ninth sky.

Holi

The 'Holi' festival is a very fun-filled and popular occasion in India. People play holi with Chandan and colored water.

This festival is celebrated around early March each year. People believe that the bright colors represent energy, life and joy. Huge bonfires are also burnt in the evening and people worship the fire.

There is a famous story associated with the festival in the puranas:

Kartikeya

Birth of Kartikeya

When the five elements governed by Lord Shiva (Panch Mahabhoota - Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether) united with Shakti (pure consciousness), Lord Kartikeya was born.

Shiva is called Panchaanana – Lord with five heads. These five heads represent the five elements in Nature. When these five elements united with the sixth: Chaitanya Shakti (pure consciousness), they gave birth to the Shadaanana (six headed), also called Lord Kartikeya.

You can understand this in terms of the Kundalini Shakti.

Hrdayam

Heart is that organ in our body which purifies, pumps and circulates blood.

Blood is known by the name Raktha in Smskrt. Raktha means nourishment, desire, red and blood. Blood is also called Lohini in Smskrt, for, it contains loha, iron. In the Greek language it is referred to as haem for iron. It is from the word “haem” that we get the word “haemoglobin”.

Heart - “Hrdayam”

The blood is continuously circulated in our body by our heart. The very word “heart” traces its etymological roots to the Smskrt word “hrdayam”. The word “hrdayam” is a technical word derived from the functionality of the heart.

Navratri

‘Nava’ means ‘nine’ and ‘ratri’ is made up of ‘ra’ which also means ‘night’ and ‘tri’ meaning the three aspects of our life – body, mind and soul.

There are three types of botherations or problems that may affect a person – physical, mental and spiritual. That which gives you relief from all these difficulties is ‘ratri’. 

‘Ratri’ or night relieves you of misery and brings comfort. The night relaxes everybody; whether happy, unhappy or miserable, everybody goes to sleep.

Navratri is a celebration of the spirit or prana which alone can destroy mahishasura (inertia), shumbha-nishumbha (pride and shame) and madhu-kaitabh (extreme forms of craving and aversion). They are completely opposites, yet complementary.

Inertia, deeply ingrained negativities and obsessions (raktabeejasura), unreasonable logics (chanda-munda) and blurred vision (dhoomralochan) can be overcomed only by raising the level of prana and shakti, the life-force energy.