Hindu New Year | Vikram Samvat 2081

Hindu New Year | Vikram Samvat 2081

Vikram Samvat 2081 is the Hindu New Year which starts on April 8, 2024. Vikram Samvat is the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra. Every year the new year of the Hindu Calendar starts from Chaitra Shukla Pratipada Tithi. According to the Gregorian calendar, this day falls in the months of March or April.

The most common calendar used throughout the world, in general, is the English or Georgian calendar. The most popular calendar system used by Hindus is the Vikrami Samvat, started by King Vikramaditya. Nepal uses Vikram Samvat or the Vikrami Calendar as the historical Hindu calendar, India too follows it in some states. It is celebrated in different states of India by different names like Navratri, Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, Cheti Chand, Navreh, and Sajibu Cheiraoba.

What is Vikram Samvat

Samvatsaraor in short ‘Samvat ’is a Sanskrit term for ‘year’. King Vikramaditya of Ujjain started Vikram Samvat in 57 BC and it is believed that this calendar follows his victory over the Saka in 56 B.C.

It started in 56 BCE in southern (Purnimanta) and 57–56 BCE in northern (Amanta) systems of the Hindu calendar. The Shukla Paksha in both systems coincides, most festivals occur in the Shukla Paksha. The era is named after King Vikramaditya of India.

In the Indian Calendar, seasons follow the sun, months follow the moon, and days both sun and moon. Hindu religious festivals are based on Vikram Samvat. In North India, the new year in Vikram Samvat starts from the first day of Chaitra Shukla paksha. In Gujarat, the second day of Diwali is celebrated as the first day of the Vikram Samvat calendar which is the first day of the month Kartik.

According to the legend, King Gardabhilla abducted a nun by the name of Saraswati. She was the sister of the famous Jain monk Kalakacharya. The helpless monk looked for the help of the Saka ruler in Sakasthana to defeat Gardabhilla. He was defeated and captivated by the Saka King. Though later released, Gardabhilla retired to the forest where he was killed by a tiger. His son, Vikramaditya, who was brought up in the forest, later invaded Ujjain and pushed out the Sakas. Thus, to celebrate this event, he commemorated a new era called Vikram Samvat.

Difference Between Saka Samvat and Vikram Samvat

Saka Samvat and Vikram Samvat are two commonly used calendars in India. Shaka Samvat is India’s national calendar. This Samvat was started in 78 BC whereas Vikram Samvat started in 57 BC. In both these Samvat, the complete calculation of time is done on the basis of the Moon.

As per Saka Samvat calendar conversion, the lunisolar Vikram Samvat calendar is 56.7 years ahead (in count) of the solar Gregorian calendar. For example, the year 2074 VS began in 2017 CE and will end in 2018 CE. Saka Samvat starts from 78 AD, whereas Vikram Samvat starts from 57 BC. The first two belts of people follow the Sakha calendar. For the people who celebrate Holi as the first day, the end of the month is after the full moon day (Pournami) instead of New moon day (Amavasya). Hence the 15-day gap between the New Years’.

The names of the months of Shaka and Vikram Samvat are the same, and both the Samvat also have Shukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha. But the difference is only at the beginning of the month. The new month starts in the Vikram Samvat with the Krishna Paksha which comes after the full moon, whereas the new month begins in the Shaka Samvat with the Shukla Paksha which comes after the new moon.

That is why there is a difference in the dates of the beginning of these Samvat. Pratipada (First day) of the Shukla Paksha of Chaitra in the Shaka Samvat is the first date of the month, while it is the sixteenth date of Vikram Samvat.

How it is celebrated

The birth of a New Year is a whole new beginning and marks the time when the world awakens from its wintry slumber. So almost all the Hindu New Year festivals fall at the beginning of the spring months when nature turns bountiful and blesses the earth with fruitful greenery. The beautiful flowers that bloom in spring, the early bird songs, the fresh harvests which are the fruits of past labor, and the commencement of a new agricultural cycle. All these symbolize the dawn of another year.

The Hindu New Year day is celebrated by different names and in different ways in all parts of the country. Thus, every colorful spring festival of the Hindus, with all the expectations, apprehensions, hope, and joy weaved in the festivities, is essential for a New Year celebration.

On this occasion, people decorate their houses by lighting and flower decorations of varied colors like pink, blue, yellow, red and purple, etc. People also designed rangolis. Rangolis are the main attraction of the decoration part. On that day it is a tradition to wake up early in the morning. People take a bath and they wear new clothes. Prayers are offered to goddess Lakshmi and to god Ganesh. Flowers, fruits, and Prasad are offered to God. After the worship, prasad and fruits are distributed among the family members and neighbors. Prasad is a material substance that is first offered to a deity and then consumed and exchanged with each other.

12 Months Hindu Calendar

Each Hindu month is divided into two 15 days i.e Kṛiṣṇa-Pakṣa (dark half) & Śukla-Pakṣa (light half). The fifteenth day of Krishna paksha is called Amavas, and the fifteenth day of Shukla paksha is called Poornima.

Amanta, Purnimanta systems: Two traditions have been followed in the Indian subcontinent with respect to lunar months: Amanta tradition which ends the lunar month on no moon day, while Purnimanta tradition which ends it on full moon day.

Chaitra: It is the first month of the year, it is March-April in the Gregorian calendar. It is associated with the coming of Spring and the festivals like Holi, Ram Navami, Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated. The first of Chaitra – is celebrated as New Year’s Day, known as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, Chaitra Vishu, and Ugadi in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Other important festivals in this month are Ram Navami, the birth anniversary of Lord Ram celebrated on the 9th day of Chaitra, and Hanuman Jayanti that falls on the last day (Purnima) of Chaitra.

Vaisakha: April-May in the Gregorian calendar is the Vaishakha month. The harvest festival of Baisakhi, Vaisakha Purnima, and Buddha Purnima is celebrated this month. Purnima refers to the Full Moon.

Jyeshta: This is May-June of the Gregorian calendar. Vat Pournima is observed in Maharashtra and Karnataka, India. It is celebrated on the full moon day (the 15th) of the month of Jyeshtha on the Hindu Calendar. Snana Yatra is a bathing festival that is also celebrated on the Purnima the Hindu month of Jyeshtha. The deities Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra, Sudarshan, and Madanmohan are brought out from the Jagannath Temple (Puri) and taken in a procession to the Snana Bedi. They are ceremonially bathed and decorated for a public audience. Sitalsasthi Carnival is conducted in Odisha in Jyeshtha month.

Asadha: This is June-July of the Gregorian calendar. Guru Purnima and Shayani Ekadashi are celebrated this month.

Sravana: This is July-August of the Gregorian calendar and the most auspicious month in the Hindu calendar, when major festivals of Krishna Janmashtami, Raksha Bandhan, Nag Panchami, Shravani Mela Kanwar Yatra is celebrated. The last day of the Shraavana is celebrated as Pola, where the bull is worshiped by farmers from Maharashtra.

In Tamil Nadu (& also in Kerala) Aadi Amavasya is celebrated with great importance in all temples. Shravani Mela is the major festival time at Deoghar in Jharkhand. Shravan is also the time of the annual Kanwar Yatra, the annual pilgrimage of devotees of Shiva, known as Kanwaria make to Hindu pilgrimage places of Haridwar, Gaumukh, and Gangotri in Uttarakhand to fetch holy waters of Ganges River

Bhadrapada or Bhadra also Prosthapada: This is August-September of the Gregorian calendar. Anant Chaturdashi is observed this month. Madhu Purnima (Bengali for ‘honey full-moon) is a Buddhist festival celebrated in India and Bangladesh.

Asvina: This is September-October of the Gregorian calendar. This is another big Hindu month when big festivals of Durga Puja, Dasehra, and Diwali are celebrated, Kojagiri festivals and Kali Puja are also performed.

Kartika: This is October-November of the Gregorian calendar. Kartik Poornima is celebrated as Dev Deepavali in Varanasi. This coincides with the nirvana of the Jain Tirthankara – Mahavira and the birth of the Sikh Guru Nanak Jayanti. Ayyappan’s garland festival for the god of Sabarimalai is also a well-known festival held during this month.

Margasirsa: This is November-December of the Gregorian calendar. This month is celebrated as Mokṣadā Ekādaśī. Kālabhairava Aṣṭamī (or Kālabhairava Jayanti) falls on Kṛṣṇa Pakṣa Aṣṭamī of this month of Mārgaśīṣa. On this day it is said that Lord Śiva appeared on earth in the fierce manifestation (avatāra) as Śrī Kālabhairava.

Pausa: This is December-January of the Gregorian calendar. The harvest festival of Pongal/Makar Sankranti is celebrated this month.

Magha: This is January-February of the Gregorian calendar. Vasant Panchami (Festival of Kites), Saraswati Puja, marking the start of spring and the Holi season. Ratha Saptami or Rathasapthami is a Hindu festival that falls on the seventh day (Saptami) in the bright half (Shukla Paksha) of the Hindu month Maagha. It marks the seventh day following the Sun’s northerly movement (Uttarayana) of vernal equinox starting from Capricorn (Makara).

Phalguna: This is February-March of the Gregorian calendar. Most parts of North India see the early celebration of the famous Hindu festival Holi, marking the end of the winter season. The Hindu festival of Shigmo is also celebrated in Goa and Konkan in the month of Phalguna.

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.