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Weekend festivities: Communities ring in their New Year with traditional feasts

Despite differences in customs, food seems to be the common factor among all communities

mumbai Updated: Apr 16, 2018 00:08 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Festival,New Year
On the occasion of Vishu, Mumbaiites pray in front of the Vishukani at Asthika Samaj in Matunga.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Communities celebrating their New Year over the weekend follow their own customs and rituals, however, food seems to be a common factor binding them all.

“One is expected to prepare around 30 dishes on Vishu (Malayalam New Year). When we used to stay in Kerala, responsibilities were divided at home. That isn’t possible in a nuclear family so we go to restaurants were Sadhya is served,” said Meera Venkat, homemaker from Sion.

Venkat went on to add that due to changes in the calendar this year, Vishu and Puthandu (Tamil new year) did not coincide, otherwise, they are celebrated on the same day.

In Kerala, Vishu marks the beginning of the month of Medam, whereas Puthandu is the first day of the Chithirai, the first month of Tamil calendar.

In other parts of the country, the day is marked as the beginning of the harvest season, while in some others it is for traders and businessmen to begin using a new account book.

Bengalis celebrate their New Year, Poila Baishakh, usually a day after Puthandu, wherein celebrations take place in shops and establishments.

“Since celebrations take place in places where people carry out their businesses, there are special discounts at a jewellers’ place,” said Debasish Chatterjee, resident of Mulund.

Chatterjee went on to add that food plays a very important part in the celebrations for Bengalis. However, people in the city opt to go to restaurants which serve special Bengali meal on New Year, as it provides them with an opportunity to mingle with other people from the community.

Similarly, Maharashtra Punjabi Association held Baisakhi Night earlier in the week, so that people from the community could meet for a get-together.

Tajinder Singh Tiwana, organiser of the event, said they tried to add a traditional touch to the event by having folk singers perform at the event.

“In Punjab, Baisakhi is the most awaited festival for farmers, which is why there are fairs, wherein folk singers perform. In Mumbai, where everyone stays in different parts of the city, we are trying to recreate the feel of the festival by inviting folk singers. However, the festival is more about getting people of the community together,” said Tiwana.

First Published: Apr 16, 2018 00:08 IST