Baisakhi – Greetings to all
Indianstampghar extends warm wishes to all its readers on the auspicious occasion of Baisakhi, Bihu & Vishu
Baisakhi is one of the major festivals of Sikhs and is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm and gaiety in the state of Punjab and all throughout the world where there is a significant Sikh population. For the large farming community of Punjab, Baisakhi Festival marks the time for harvest of rabi crops and they celebrate the day by performing joyful bhangra and gidda dance. For the Sikh community, Baisakhi Festival has tremendous religious significance as it was on a Baisakhi Day in 1699, that Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru laid the foundation of Panth Khalsa-the Order of the Pure Ones.
Date of Baisakhi
Baisakhi Festival falls on the first day of Vaisakh month (April-May) according to Nanakshahi or Sikh Calendar. For this reason, Baisakhi is also popularly known as Vaisakhi. According to English calendar, the date of Baisakhi corresponds to April 13 every year and April 14 once in every 36 years. This difference in Baisakhi dates is due to the fact that day of Baisakhi is reckoned according to solar calendar and not the lunar calendar. The auspicious date of Baisakhi is celebrated all over India under different names and different set of rituals and celebrations. Baisakhi date coincides with ‘Rongali Bihu’ in Assam, ‘Naba Barsha’ in Bengal, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu and ‘Pooram Vishu’ in Kerala.
Baisakhi or Vaisakhi Festival is celebrated as the Sikh New Year and the founding of the Khalsa Panth. History of Baisakhi traces its origin from the Baisakhi Day celebrations of 1699 organized by the Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh to form Khalsa – Brotherhood of Saint Soldiers to fight against tyranny and oppression.
Tamil New Year – Greetings
Indianstampghar wishes all its readers a very happy and prosperous Tamil New Year on 14 April 2010.
Puthandu, or better known as Tamil New Year, is the celebration of the first day of the Tamil new year traditionally in mid-April by people of Tamil origin in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in India, and by the Tamil population in Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka. People greet each other on this day by saying (Iniya Tamizh Puthaandu Nalvazhthukkal). This is in keeping with the Hindu solar calendar.
Tamil people celebrate Tamil new year on April 14. There are several references in early Tamil literature to the April new year. Nakkirar, the author of the Nedunalvaadai mentions in the 3rd century that the Sun travels from Mesha/Chitterai through 11 successive Raasis or signs of the Zodiac. Koodaloor Kizhaar in the 3rd century refers to Mesha Raasi/Chitterai as the commencement of the year in the Puranaanooru. The 8th century Silappadikaaram describes the 12 Raasis/zodiac signs starting with Mesha/Chitterai. The Manimekalai alludes to the Hindu solar calendar as we know it today.
Every year in the month of Chitterai (the first month of the Tamil solar calendar), in the temple city of Madurai, the Chitterai Thiruvizha is celebrated in the Meenakshi Temple. A huge exhibition is also held, called Chitterai Porutkaatchi. In some parts of Southern Tamil Nadu, it is also called Chitterai Vishu. The day is marked with a feast in Tamil homes and entrances to the houses are decorated elaborately with kolams. In most parts of India, Middle-east and Africa, one can see neem trees blooming with its flowers and the first batch of mangoes hanging prominently. This day is celebrated by some communities with neem flowers and raw mangoes to symbolize growth and prosperity.
On the day of Tamil New Year, a big Car Festival is held at Tiruvadamarudur near Kumbakonam. Festivals are also held at Tiruchirapalli, Kanchipuram and many other places.
Sri Lankan Tamils observe the traditional new year in April with the first financial transaction known as the ‘Kai-vishesham’ where elders gift money to the unmarried young, particularly children as a token of good luck. The event is also observed with the ‘arpudu’ or the first ploughing of the ground to prepare for the new agricultural cycle.