Gujarati New Year – Bestu Varas
Bestu Varas, Varsha Pratipada, or Gujarati New Year is celebrated a day after Diwali on the first bright day of Kartik (Kartak sud Ekam). Diwali is the festival of lights in India but it also marks the beginning of the Gujarati calendar who follows Vikrama samvatsaram, the second day of Diwali is celebrated as the first day of the Vikram Samvat calendar.
As per the Hindu Calendar, it falls on Shukla Paksha Pratipada in the Hindu month of Kartik. As per the Indian Calendar based on Lunar Cycle, Kartik is the first month of the year and the New Year in Gujarat falls on the first bright day of Kartik (Ekam). So, this day marks the beginning of their new fiscal year.
The fourth day of the Diwali festival is known as ‘Padwa’, which marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya, and Vikram Samvat was started from this day. The day is celebrated with great devoutness and enthusiasm across the state. Newly wed females are invited over to their parent’s place along with their husbands. Businessmen open their new account books, and all type of payment or transaction is postponed. Many people try their luck on gambling this day and this day is most auspicious for starting any new venture.
Legend of Bestu Varas
The legend is associated with Lord Krishna who spent his early days in the Braj region. The people of the Braj region would make vast offerings and sacrifices to appease Lord Indra and seek his blessings. Krsna stopped them and accepted those offerings instead. Indra was not amused by this. So he sent a huge thunderstorm and the works towards the people of Vraja.
It is believed that it is the day Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan parbat to save the people of Vraja from the wrath of Lord Indra, who vowed to drown the small village with heavy rain. Since then, people offer pujas to Govardhan Parbat on this day of Bestu Varas. Govardhan pujas are organized in many temples across Gujarat on this day, the mythological mountain is made with mud and cow dung and worshipped.
Gujarati month Kartak 1, 2021 falls on November 5. This day marks the new fiscal year in Gujarat, while in other parts of India it is celebrated around Spring.
Gujarati New Year Celebrations
In Diwali programs for Gujarati, something special is “Gujarati New Year”. Today, according to tradition, people get up early in the morning, put on their best clothes, and seek God’s blessings for a happy and prosperous year to come. Many Hindus believe that happy people on the first day of the New Year will remain the same throughout the year.
Diwali marks the end of the year in Gujarat, on this day people close their old account books and open new ones. These account books or Chopda are worshipped, marked with the auspicious symbol (swastika) then subh-labh is written on it and prayed for a profitable financial new year. There is no specific timing or tithi to perform this puja as the day coincides with Govardhan Puja, therefore, the whole day is considered auspicious.
People decorate their homes beautifully with vides of happiness and festivities all around. Women of the household make delicious sweets and distribute them to friends exchanging the greetings of New Year Wishes or Nutan Varsh Abhinandan. On this day, Gujaratis have forgotten bad memories, forgotten all misunderstandings, and pains of the whole year, and started a positive beginning of the New Year.
Nootan Varsaabhinadanan or Saal Mubarak is a traditional Hindu Gujarati greeting reserved for use on Diwali and the Gujarati New Year, which falls a day after Diwali.
Happy Gujarati New Year!
Suggested Read: Gujarat – Culture and Tradition