New Year’s Traditions
In India, the New Year is celebrated much the same way as it is here in the west, with parties, music, food and friends. But on different dates throughout the country, depending on the location, the Hindu New Year is also celebrated. In the eastern and southern parts of India, the New Year is celebrated during the spring. Yellow is the symbolic color of spring, and people often wear yellow on this day. A traditional New Year’s Day salad is made with neem leaves, jagarey, raw mangoes and bananas. Those who eat the salad are symbolically accepting everything bitter and sweet that is likely to come their way throughout the coming year. In Kerala, mothers prepare a special tray with food, fruits, flowers and gifts the night before New Year’s Day. When the children wake up, they are led with their eyes closed to this tray so that it is the first thing that they see in the morning. In western India, New Year’s Day is celebrated at the end of Diwali, the festival of lights, which is at the end of October. During Diwali, little oil lamps are lit around houses to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.