The arid land of Gujarat comes alive with its many celebrations. The people of Gujarat are known for their hospitable nature, delicacies, dance, music and colorful lifestyle. Celebration of the New Year here calls for great pomp and show. It is also heavily laden with religious rituals. The Gujarati New Year is also known as Bestu Varas.
Gujaratis, as the people of Gujarat province are normally known as, celebrate the day after Diwali as their New Year.
It is believed to be the day when Lord Krishna of Hindu mythology worshipped the Govardhan Parbat to save people of Vraja from the wrath of Lord Indra, who vowed to drown the small village from heavy rain. Since then, Gujaratis are offering pujas to the Govardhan Parbat on the day of Bestu Varas. On this day, Govardhan pujas are organized in many temples across Gujarat and devotees gather to earn blessings from their worshipping God. In many temples, the replica of the mythological mountain is made with mud and cow dung and is worshipped.
The Gujarati New Year falls in the month of Kartik, which is the first month of the Gujarati calendar. The event is also called Varsha-pratipada or Padwa and coincides with Sudekam.
Many rituals are followed to usher the New Year and people put their worries behind and prepare to welcome a new beginning. Since the New Year is celebrated on the next day of Diwali, which is the biggest religious event of the region, festivities continue with equal enthusiasm. On this day, all the houses are cleaned and painted fresh. Gujaratis will decorate their houses with ‘rangolis’ and garlands. In the evening, people light up their houses with oil lamps and burst firecrackers.
On this day, people dress in new clothes and visit temples to offer puja to Gods. People will buy new clothes and show respect to elders. Elaborate New Year feasts are organized in houses and friends and families are invited to join the meal. Wishing health and prosperity to each other is an integral part of Gujarati New Year celebration. Gujaratis also commemorate the day to forget about their past rivalries and misunderstanding and welcome a new beginning. Homemade sweets and desserts are prepared and distributed among the neighbors and relatives.
Like the other parts of India, the New Year celebration coincides with the beginning of the harvest season in the region. Many fairs are organized in different parts of the state during this time and so, it is also the ideal season to plan a trip to the westernmost state of India.