New Year's Eve and New Year's Day has come and gone. Many people called to wish us on new year day and we reciprocated. So far so good. They all continued with ”what did you do for New year eve and New Year day?” Now this has always been a very difficult question to answer: difficult because we have never done anything special on New Year eve and New Year day. While my children lived at home, I used to make a sweet on 1st January.
In India, we have differrent New Year day for each part of the country. Where as the Malayalam New Year starts in the month of Chingam (August-September), the Tamil New Year starts in Chithirai (April-May ). Kannada and Teleugu New Year starts on Ugadi (March-April), and if I am not mistaken Maratha New Year starts on the same day and they call it Gudi Padva. Similary there is a Parsi New Year day and other parts of India also have a New Year day of their own.
Even the fianancial New Year starts on a day different from January 1.
How many times do we celebrate New Year day? So what do most people do on New Year eve? Many of them sit in front of their idiot boxes either with their family or with a group of families and munch and drink watching the various tragically comic programs dished out in the exact same way Year after Year. Year after year, every silly TV channel invites you to spend the New Year with them. Few people get together in clubs and again eat and drink. The so called elite get together in the star hotes or star club houses or resorts and eat and drink. The younger generation go out to the busiest streets in the city and visit all the pubs and get drunk and become unruly and atleast some of them get involved in accidents ( sometimes fatal) driving back in a drunken state. And a major percentage of people like us consider it as just another day and get on with our routine. Many offices work on the New Year day, anyway.
Traditionally, all Indian New Year days are celebrated with extreme austerity and solemnity. No non-veg and no alcohol. It has a sort of religious importance and in most of the regions on the New Year day, the almanac for the Year is read and remedial measures if any, due to adverse planetary positions, are laid down. The eclipses and the important festival days of the Year are read out. Special poojas are performed and the blessings of the elders are sought. There are special services in the churches.
Most offices in the Western countries are closed on the New Year day just as the scools and offfices in different states in India are closed on the New Year day of that state. The Jan 1st as new Year has originated in India only after the British came to India, but perhaps does not appear to have been accepted by all religions and therefore has stayed as just a celebrations by a few in clubs, resorts and streets, followed by a few drunken brawls, accidents due to drunken driving, molestations etc. I have not heard of any New Year day being celebrated with so many ugly scenes anywhere in the world. No New year day desrves to be celebrated in a way which makes people knit their eyebrows as many do on the following day when they read reports on the New Year eve incidents in the news papers.