HAPPY NEW YEAR!
May this year be full of wisdom, beauty, & full alignment with dharma, the sacred and natural way. May you experience abundance, delight, and the full protection of divine grace each day of this new year.
(In case you’re confused – it’s New Year according to the Indic lunar calendar… and the first one we’re celebrating here at Living Sanskrit, together with all of you!)
We’re sending out this newsletter a bit early to give you time to connect with and prepare for all the practices for each day leading up to the New Year, which begins with the month of Kārtika, and immediately after the night of the New Moon.
The end of a year in any tradition is always a time of reflection, gratitude, and completions. We get to give thanks for all that we have learned and received over the year. And New Year’s Day is always a time of renewing resolution, inspiration, and excitement.
Additionally, we also pause in the days leading up to the New Year to acknowledge the forces of grace, abundance, and light in our lives, and to clear out any lingering darkness or toxicity. It is a time to return to the dharma and to let go of anything inside or out that does not serve the sacred and our purpose for being.
Practice: Welcome the New Year!
As with Navarātri, there are many, many traditions and practices to welcome the New Year in different regions and lineages. Here are some simple ones you can practice for each day leading up to the New Year! The goddess Lakṣmī is the main deity for most of these days, so if you are not sure who to invoke, you can pray and practice to her.
Ekādaśi (November 7): Fast (fruit, nuts, some milk); limit media and entertainment; perform spiritual practices such as meditation, chanting, and pūjā, ritual worship.
Dvādaśi (November 8): On this day, cows are traditionally fed and honored. They represent abundance, harvest, nourishment, sweetness, security, comfort, generosity, purity, and fertility. If you have access to a cow, you can feed or clean the cow. Additionally, you can offer gratitude for the ways in which grace nourishes and comforts you on a tangible level.
Trayodaśi (November 9): This is a day for honoring all the forms of dhana, material wealth, in our life. We offer thanks for our money, gold, jewelry, or other valuable possessions. You can wash and clean all your gold, silver, and gemstone jewelry, and offer thanks for it by singing hymns and waving a flame or offering kumkum and rice to these visible reminders of wealth and abundance in your life.
Chaturdaśi (November 10): This is a day devoted to the goddess Kālī, and is the last day to release and clean any toxicity or negativity from your life. Traditionally, the entire house/office/car is given a deep clean, and people also make amends with anyone they have argued with. It is also a wonderful time to release any unnecessary or toxic habits or beliefs.
Amāvasya – New Moon (November 11): This day is called Dīpāvali, (or Diwali), the Festival of Lights. It is the darkest night of the year, and we honor it by lighting small ghee or oil candles and leaving them all over our house. You can also leave your electric lights on (environmental issues permitting), or just the front door light, which welcomes light and consciousness into your home and life for the New Year.
Navavarśa – New Year (November 12): On this day, we do everything with a new attitude. We wear new clothes, start new habits, make new resolutions, and basically begin everything fresh and new. There is a tradition that however you spend your New Year’s Day sets the tone for the rest of the year – so for example, think good thoughts and speak to everyone with sweetness and good humor. Family will visit each other and exchange gifts. Others make visits to the temple to offer gratitude to the divine and ask for blessings for an auspicious and beautiful new year.
Also, there is a tradition amongst different professions to symbolically renew and begin their work for the year. For example, business owners begin their fiscal year on this day; educators buy new books and perform ritual worship to them; artists will break out new brushes, paints, or tools, etc. If you’ve been waiting to use or start something new, today’s the day!
For everyone, it is a time for cultivating inspiration, creativity, and fresh commitment and resolution in every area of our life.