By Mansi Agarwal April 2006The month of April is the time for new beginnings and new life as cultures everywhere celebrate spring. Spring Calendaro Basant Panchmi: February 2. In North Indian states it signifies the end of winter and arrival of springo Navroze: March 21. Parsi New Yearo Gudi Padwa: March 30. The Maharashtrian New Yearo Navreh: April 10. The beginning of the Lunar New Year in Kashmiro Baisakhi: April 14. Punjab celebrates the harvest of rabi cropso Vishu: April 14. Kerala's New Yearo Rongali Bihu: April 14. Assam's New Yearo Puthandu: April 14. Tamil Nadu's New Yearo Vaishakha: April 14. Bihar. A festival devoted to the sun godo Poila Baisakh: April 14. Bangladesh's New Yearo Naba Barsha: April 14. Bengali New Yearo Nava Varsha: April 15. Nepali New Yearo Easter: April16 (this year). Commemo-rates the resurrection of Jesus ChristThe sun is waxing geniality and good cheer. There's a new spirit and bounce in the sparrow's chirp. Tiny buds have appeared on the tips of the barren arms of the trees. Blades of grass have eagerly speared up from every spare inch of ground. Flowers are daring to peep out again, awakened from their winter slumber by the sun's tender touch. A gentle breeze blows, setting leaves aflutter with excitement, and whispering untold secrets. Butterflies are once again hovering busily over blooms and farms. Kids run barefooted across the hayfields. And farmers rejoice over their lush harvest. With the start of the Spring Equinox, the season that celebrates renewed life of the earth has arrived. Yes, spring is here.New DawnSpring Equinox marks the beginning of spring season and celebrates the balance of energies and the lengthening of days. It falls on March 21, when the sun moves from Pisces towards Aries and the day is as long as the night. From this day onwards, the sun continues to climb higher in the sky in the northern hemisphere, marking the start of the Indian summer. On April 14, the sun enters Aries, the first sign of the Zodiac, observed by many cultures in India as the New Year. Spring Equinox is also acknowledged as Vernal Equinox, which literally means youthful. Indeed, spring brings out the youth in everyone, plants, animals, as well as humans. After the hardship and suffering of winter, spring appears as a soothing balm, a time for good times and easy living.The great power of spring and its rejuvenating effects are acknowledged by most religions and every major Indian state, through one or other festival, such as the Zoroastrian celebration of Navroze, or the Punjabi invocation of Baisakhi.Spring season is recognized as Basant Ritu in Hindu mythology. Basant Panchmi is primarily celebrated in North Indian states to mark the end of arduous winter. During this season, mustard fields are in full bloom, carpeting the land in a sea of yellow. People welcome this change of season by wearing yellow clothes, cooking yellow rice, flying kites and, in general, having fun. Yellow is the colour of the season, since it is the color of the sun and heals the temperament of any hangover of drab winter spirits. Because it makes us feel happy and optimistic, yellow is usually recommended for people suffering from seasonal disorders and having a tendency to become depressed in winter months.Celebrating SpringThe Zoroastrian Navroze commences with the Spring Equinox on March 21. The Parsi community traditionally celebrates this festival with a visit to the fire temple with a prayer for abundance during the coming year and a plea for forgiveness of faults committed in the preceding year. Easter, commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, is once again a testimony of spring's eternal promise of new life conveyed through the symbol of the Easter egg.In Maharashtra, March 30 signifies Guddi Padwa, or New Year, which is celebrated by placing a vessel on a stick and embellishing it with flowers, a cloth, mangoes and cashews, the traditional fruits of the season. The stick is then worshiped as a symbol of prosperity and auspiciousness. Ugadi, the Telugu New Year, is also celebrated on the same day. Here, celebrants are given a mixture of neem and jaggery as a symbol of the ability to bear both good and bad times during the coming year.On April 14, the large farming community of Punjab celebrates Baisakhi to mark the time for harvest of the rabi crop. It is one of the most important festivals of the Sikh community, who perform joyful bhangra and gidda dances. Around the same time, Assam also celebrates its harvest festival, Rongali Bihu, which inspires unbounded joy and enthusiasm, expressed through intoxicating songs called bihugeets and salutations.Most of India, starting from the extreme Southern state of Kerala, celebrates April 14 as the New Year. Known as Vishu in Kerala, it is celebrated with a sighting of the Vishu kani, a platter full of auspicious goods such as ornaments, clothing, agricultural produce and laburnum flowers. Gifts of clothing and money are given to young children. In Bengal too, April 14 is commemorated as Naba Barsha or New Year.Spring is believed by many traditional sections to mark the beginning of creation itself. On April 8, Lord Brahma, the Creator of the universe, is said to have begun his wondrous task. And on this very day in 1875, Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded the Arya Samaj.Time to RejuvenateNot just our spirits but even our health is revitalized in this season. The scientific significance of spring is that the body actually gains extra energy. A creation of light fluid in the blood takes place, which boosts our energy levels. Ayurvedic practitioners have described this season as creating zest and enthusiasm. B. L. Shastri, Vedic scholar and a renowned astrologer, says, 'Spring season proves very beneficial for people with blood-related ailments. A person suffering from blood disorders should sit in the spring sun for an hour or two.'More than anything else, spring is the promise that good times will eventually prevail. As B.L. Shastri says, 'Spring is hidden in every winter, and day in the darkness of night.'Sit. Look. Listen and take notice. If we immerse our souls in this wonder, we will have the strength to fully face what life throws our way, knowing that in the cycle of time, bad times give way to good times and good times to bad times, eternally.
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