As the beginning of the Hindu New Year is being celebrated with great zeal across the nation, President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday extended his greetings.
"Greetings and good wishes to fellow citizens on the occasion of Chaitra Sukladi, Ugadi, Gudi Padava, Cheti Chand, Navreh and Sajibu Cheiraoba. May these festivals bring happiness and strengthen the bonds of fraternity among people in various regions of our country," he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to the micro-blogging site to extend his best wishes to the nation.
Several people across the nation are celebrating the start of the New Year. I convey my greetings to all those celebrating. May the year ahead be a wonderful one.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 18, 2018
Furthermore, in a series of tweets, Prime Minister Modi also extended his greetings to the people of Manipur on Sajibu Cheiraoba, Maharashtra on Gudi Padwa and Southern India (Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana) on Ugadi.
A number of festivals are being celebrated on Sunday, as the day marks the beginning of a new year in the Hindu calendar.
-Ugadi, also known as Kannada and Telugu New Year, is celebrated primarily by the Hindus of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and parts of Maharashtra on the first day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Chaitra.
The day is observed by drawing colourful patterns on the floor (Rangoli), hanging mango leaf decorations on doors, buying and giving gifts, and preparing and sharing a special dish called 'pachadi', which combines all flavours - sweet, sour, salty, bitter. It is believed that in the Telugu and Kannada Hindu traditions, the dish is a symbolic reminder that one must expect all flavours of experiences in the coming new year.
-Gudi Padwa is a spring-time festival that marks the traditional new year for Hindus in Maharashtra and is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month of the lunisolar Hindu calendar. Similar to Ugadi, the festival is observed with colourful floor decorations, a special Gudhi flag garlanded with flowers, mango and neem leaves, and topped with upturned silver or copper vessel, street processions, dancing and festive foods.
-Sajibu Cheiraoba is the lunar new year festival of the people who follow the Sanamahism religion of Manipur. While festive food, offerings and prayers are a part of the festivities for the day, it is believed that the feast for the occasion is usually prepared by the men in the family, while women assist them in chopping and washing the ingredients.
Today also marks the beginning of the Chaitra Navratri and the transition of the spring season to summer. As in case of Sharad Navratri which is celebrated in September-October, celebrations for Chaitra Navratri also involve worship of Goddess Durga and her nine forms. Over the next nine days, devotees offer their prayers to Goddess Durga and observe fasts.
While the tenth day of Sharad Navratri is celebrated as Dussehra or Vijayadashami, the ninth day of Chaitra Navratri is celebrated as Ram Navami or Hindu Lord Rama's birthday.