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|by Dr. Kumarendra Mallick|
There is an Oriya proverb, 'Baar maas, ter parva' (twelve months and thirteen festivals). That is the true spirit of India, the ancient land. There are festivals and celebrations galore to regale the folks in the country. Many of our festivals are chronicled around the moon (lunar calendar) and sun (solar calendar). Just a fortnight back we celebrated Ugadi (New Year) in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Gudi Padva in Maharastra and Goa, Cheti Chand in Sindh, Navreh in Kashmir, Navroz etc for New Year according to the lunar calendar.
The New Year according to Solar calendar is observed as Baisakhi in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Vishukani in Tamilnadu, Vishu in Kerala, Bihu in Assam, Bishu in Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand. This is, in essence, a harvest festival.
Besides being celebrated as a great festival in Punjab with bhangra dance, this day has special significance in Punjab. In 1689 Guru Govind Singh called upon five pures (Panch pyare) and established Khalsa (Pure ones) to uphold the dignity of the society and sikhism.
Tamil Nadu, the home of several ancient Indian traditions, attaches a lot of significance and sanctity to this day. In each home there is a display of grains, fruits, new clothes, gold and money to be viewed by the inmates, specially by the young ones, early in the morning to ensure the year to be prosperous.
In Kerala, it is called Vishu and as in theTamil Nadu here too people in the early morning see grains, fruits, gold, silver and money. In Orissa, Bengal , Bihar and Jharkhand it is Bishu and Bihu in Assam. Virtually the entire nation celebrates this day.
This day has another significance. As the legend goes, the kingdom of Ayodha was cursed and there was no rain for long 12 years. King Bhagirath did penance for all these years, and was blessed that Ganga will come down to the earth to mitigate the misery of the people. On this day Ganga came down to the earth; therefore all along the Ganga thousands of people take a holy dip on this auspicious day. The other name of Ganga is Bhagirathi.
'Boloji' takes great pleasure of wishing Happy Baisakhi to all its patrons, writers, readers and people in general. May all view plenty of grains, fruits, jewellery and wealth in the year to come and beyond. May there be peace and happiness across the globe (Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu!)
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