Chris Devonshire-Ellis takes a look at how different Asian nations celebrate their New Year. The comprehensive report can be read on emerging markets blog.
Bhutan – February 3rd/4th
Recognized as Losar, the Bhutanese New Year is based on the ancient Tibetan Bon religion calendar, which then subsequently influenced the Chinese New Year. The term Losar is the Tibetan word for “new year.” Lo holds the semantic field “year, age” sar holds the semantic field “new, fresh.” Losar is the most critical vacation in Bhutan and Tibet. Losar is celebrated for 15 days, with primary celebrations occurring on the 1st 3 days. On the 1st day of Losar, a beverage called changkol is produced from chhaang (a Tibetan cousin of beer). The second day of Losar is identified as King’s Losar (gyalpo losar). Losar is traditionally preceded by the five-day practice of Vajrakilaya, and frequently falls on the exact same day as the Chinese New Year (sometimes with one day or with 1 lunar month distinction). Losar is also celebrated by the Yolmo and Sherpa tribes, though diverse regions in the nation have their personal respective new years.
Cambodia – April 13th/14th
Cambodian New Year (Chaul Chnam Thmey in Khmer) literally signifies “Enter the New Year,” and marks the vacation that celebrates the New Year. The vacation lasts for 3 days beginning on New Year’s Day, which normally falls on April 13th or 14th, and the finish of the harvesting season. The farmers take pleasure in the fruits of their harvest and loosen up just before the rainy season starts. The holiday requires the form of three days of festivities “Maha Songkran,” derived from Sanskrit, is the name of the first day of the New Year celebration–and is the ending of a past year and the beginning of a new one particular. Individuals dress up, light candles and burn incense sticks at shrines. The members of each family members spend homage to offer you thanks for the Buddha’s teachings by bowing, kneeling and prostrating themselves three occasions prior to his image. For very good luck, men and women wash with holy water their face in the morning, their chests at noon, and their feet in the evening ahead of bed. This day is followed by Virak Wanabat, the second day of the New Year celebration. Individuals contribute charity to the less fortunate, help the poor, servants, homeless people, and low-income families. Households attend a dedication ceremony to their ancestors at the monastery.
Tngay Leang Saka is the name of the third day of the New Year celebration. Buddhists cleanse the Buddha statues and elders with perfumed water. The bathing of the Buddha photos symbolizes that water will be required for all types of plants and lives. It is also believed to be a sort deed that will bring longevity, very good luck, happiness and prosperity in life. By bathing their grandparents and parents, children can receive from them best wishes and good advice for the future. 2011 is, incidentally, the Year 2555 in the Buddhist Era calendar.
India – (a variety of dates)
Owing to the vast cultural and ethnic diversity of India, New Year’s Day is celebrated in distinct instances of the year at distinct locations. Typically, the lunar calendar (the Hindu calendar is also based on the movement of the Moon) has been the base of calculations from ancient times. Most of these celebrations are primarily based on the months in the Hindu lunar calendar.
Rongali Bihu (Also referred to as Bohag Bihu) is celebrated in mid-March. March 15, its celebration marks the initial day of Hindu Solar calendar. It is a time of festivities as spring arrives and happiness abounds. It also marks the advent of seeding time.
Ugadi is celebrated as New Year’s Day in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The name Ugadi is derived from the name “Yuga Adi,” translating to “the starting of a new age.” It is celebrated on the initial day of the Hindu month Chaitra, which marks the onset of spring. It is believed that Lord Brahma began creation on this day. Houses are given a thorough cleaning, men and women don new clothes and specific dishes are ready properly ahead of the festival.
Gudi Padwa is celebrated as New Year’s Day in Maharashtra. It is celebrated on the exact same day as Ugadi (i.e., the first day of the month Chaitra). Courtyards of rural homes are cleaned and plastered with fresh cow dung. Styles referred to as Rangolis are drawn on doorsteps. People wear new garments and specific dishes are prepared. Lord Brahma is worshipped on this day and the gudi, Brahma’s flag (also referred to as Brahmadhvaj), is hoisted in every property as a symbolic representation of Rama’s victory over Ravana.
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