Nutan Varṣābhinandan! Happy New Year! In Sanskrit, it’s Navavarshābhinandan – greetings for the new year! Another common form of greeting for this day is Nayā Sāl Mubārak, or just Sāl Mubārak, which is Hindi for Happy New Year!
Now, keep in mind that mostly the Gujarati, Marwari, and a few other mostly Northern communities celebrate this as the New Year; other parts of India also have their own regional New Year celebrations (for example, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh celebrate it theirs in the spring). However, as the different traditions and communities become more globalized, many people throughout India also consider this a New Year, so it’s the most common.
Our recommendation, if you are not sure which tradition you belong to, is to embrace and practice all the different New Year’s Days and use each one as an opportunity to experience a new beginning, set new intentions, and move forward with enthusiasm!
Because it’s a NEW year, the traditional practice is to keep that new spirit by doing everything new. People wear new clothes, set new intentions, use all new things (for example, the new curtains or a new pot or new phone).
There’s a tradition that New Year sets the tone for the rest of the year, so everyone tries to be kind, generous, and happy throughout the day. They try to speak sweetly and perform all auspicious actions.
It is tradition to go have darśan and get blessings at a temple. Additionally, everyone visits the different homes of all the elders in the family, who usually have food and sweets ready for them. In this way, everyone gets to meet up with each other, since it’s often hard for elders to travel. Even for families that live far away, the phone rings all day with calls of “I just wanted to wish you a very Happy New Year! How is everyone doing?” Family members exchange gifts and give sweets and little envelopes of money to the children.
As spiritual practitioners, we can also embrace the energy of newness by setting new intentions for our sādhanā, our spiritual practices. We can commit to new habits. And we can remember that, like nature herself, we too can always renew ourselves at every moment, and face life with optimism, and fresh vision!
We started our holiday practice by honoring and inviting all the different forms of Śrī – New Year’s Day is the time to fully step into that new and uplifting vision we have been cultivating and longing for in the days prior. Trust that she is with you, and that you are with her. Embrace your dharma, and receive her infinite blessings.
May you have a beautiful, nourishing, joyful, luminous, inspiring, and prosperous year!