Yes, it’s New Year. Again.
Here in the west springtime is the time of daffodils and chickies and bunnies and most importantly chocolate. And of course rebirth, with the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, and pre-Christian Goddess of spring, Eostra bringing life back to the world after winter.
In the east, springtime is much the same, new life, new start, regrowth etc, and as such is a whole fresh new year.
In Nepal new year is called Navavarsha. The first month of the year is Baisakh, and has a moveable start (because of astronomy and stuff). The celebrations go on for a few days and involves picnics with family, visiting the temple Gods and making offerings.
In the town of Bhaktapur they have a festival called Bisket Jatra. You’ve really got to appreciate any festival called biscuit, no?! Bisket Jatra involves the townspeople dragging a huge statue of a pagoda (a temple) on a golden chariot around the town and then turning it into a massive fight as people compete to pull in into their part of town. *sigh* I remember when new years in my english town always used to end in a punch up….
There’s also a ritual involving a giant phallic pole (a lingum) which is erected for the festivities, then pulled down. Not unsimilar to a maypole I feel?
Also in Nepal they use a different year calendar, and this year is 2072.
In Cambodia, another Buddhist country, new year is Chaul Chnam Thmey, and also goes on for three days. Farmers celebrate the bringing in of the harvest before the rainy season begins and people play games.
Everyone dresses up and lights candles and incense, pray to the Gods and remember their ancesters. They have a bit of a spring clean and make offerings to the poor.
And of course there’s cake -Kralan- made from steamed rice and coconut milk. Yum!
In the Cambodian Buddhist calendar it is the year 2559 this year.
In Bangladesh it is the Bengali New Year, or Pohela Boishakh. It’s also the start of the business year and many business will offer up sweets to their customers.
In Sri Lanka theres spring cleaning, and firecrackers and drumming, and yes! cakes.
Yep, spring, new year, new start and cake.
Happy new (ish) year!!
Usual disclaimer, none of the photos are mine, pictures and info from around the internet. Although this site was useful.