Bestu Varas, Gujarati New Year

India is a country having different cultures within it,but still it enjoys unity in diversity.One thing that must be remembered that all the diversities have their own mode of celebrating festivals, but spirit of love,unity,togetherness and affection is same behind all these diverse cultures.Gujarati New Year falls in the month of October-November between all the festivities and celebrations.

Gujarati New Year is celebrated on the next day of Diwali.Gujarati New Year is synonymous with sudekam of the kartik month. It is the first day of first month of Gujarati calender which is referred as Hindu Vikram Samvatsar.Vikram Samvat calendar is also known as Vikram Calendar or Vikram Samvat.As per this,the month is calculated from the new moon to the previous day,before next new moon.

Vikram Era was started in 57 BC by Emperor Vikramaditya as a commemoration of his victory over the Shaks,at Ujjain, one among the four places of Kumbha Mela.This Hindu calendar is also known as Vikram Samvant and begins with the Month Kartik or Kartak In Gujarat.

Diwali is held on the final day of the Vikram Calendar and the next day marks the beginning of the New Year and is also referred to as Padva or Nutan Varsh,Varsha Pratipada and Bestu Varas.In the Hindu calendar which is mostly used in North India,the year begins with Chaitra Shukala Pratipadha (March - April). In this calendar too, the current year is 2067.

This day marks the beginning of new financial year in Gujarat as well as in other states of North India. According to the legends, Lord Krishna once performed Govardhan Pooja along with the people of Vraja for their protection from heavy rains. Since then, it became a tradition to worship Govardhan Parvat and celebrate this day as a New Year.

Rituals

Tradtional customs and rituals are performed to welcome the New Year and bid farewell to the by gone time.Bestu Varas is the time to forget all the misunderstandings,pains,hardships and ill-memories of past year.New Year in Gujarat is the time to enjoy and celebrate in a big way.Since these celebrations are coupled with the joy of Diwali, it is a gala time for the Gujaratis.

Almost all Gujarati houses are lit with modern electronic systems and decorated with colorful flowers.On this day, people by or stitch new dresses and visit temples with garlands and sweets. Some temples in Gujarat also conduct a grand Govardhan Pooja.

A lavish and tasty meal at the end of the celebration, is the major attaction and the temptation for all. Children and also the elders are seen eating heavy food on this day.Thus, New Year in Gujarat reflects the true spirit of Indian tradition and the eesence of the Guju culture.Love,affection, unity and togetherness is the main criteria of these celebrations.Everyone is heard wishing each other the compliments of the new year.

Legend

There are legends behind the celebrations of festivals and these legends make our culture diverse and significant.So,with this festival too there is a myth,which is connected with Lord Krishna and harvest festival.The monsoon of Ashadh help the crops to grow up and yield a rich harvest and after a good reap, different food items are prepared from the crops and are devoted to the God.

In Gokul,the native place of Lord Krishna, it was a tradition for thanking God Indra,the God of rain for pouring good rain that helped the crops to have a rich growth.However,when Lord Krisna saw the whole food preparations being made at home,he questioned Nandbaba about it.At this Nandbaba replied that this was done to give thanks to Lord Indra who poured ample rain to help the crops to have a rich harvest.

However,Lord Krishna did not agree to this belief and clarified that whatever a man gets in life,is the result of his Karma.He also further convinced that as they were the forest dwellers, the worship of mount Govardhan, cows and Brahmins was more important than the worship of the Lord Indra.The crop is the reward of their Karma, which provides them the reward of their efforts.

This advice of Lord Krishna appealed to all the peoples of Gokul and they stopped the worship of Indra and started worshipping the Mount Govardhan and cows. However, when Indra came to know about this, he become very violent and in his anger,poured heavy rains on the people of Gokul and on the blooming crops so that it would get destroyed.

However, Lord Krishna lifted the mount Govardhan just on his small finger and provided shelter and safety the people.crops and the cattle.Lord Indra came to know about his over confidence and blunder and soon apologised Lord Krishna.Lord Krishna forgave Indra.So on this day of Gujarati New Year the Mount Govardhan is worshipped by all the people.