Welcoming the New Year!

Welcoming the New Year!

Characteristic of the Indian cultural concoction, Hindus in various states of India celebrate the New Year in their own ways. And not all of these fall on the same day, though most of them do fall in the months of March/April of every year. The people of Kerala celebrate Vishu on the 14th of April. Andhra Pradesh celebrates Ugadi, on the 13th of April and on the same day the Bengalis and Punjabis celebrate Poila Baishakh and Baisakhi, the springtime festivals marking the beginning of a new year.

The Thane city is all set to usher in the Hindu New Year season in style. On April 2, which is also Gudi Padwa, the Maharashtrian New Year, hundreds of Thaneites will participate in the 2nd Bharatiya Nava Varsha Swagat Yatra, a procession to welcome the Indian New Year. The event is being organised by Shri Kopaneshwar Mandir Trust, and will be supported by more than 60 city-based organisations. These include educational institutes, social and religious trusts, NGO’s and such others. But no political parties are involved. "It is a completely apolitical event", says Sagar Oak, who is actively involved in organising the great parade.  

The event aims to bring together people from every sect regardless of their castes and creeds. And they’ll all come out wearing their regional attire. So you can hope to see a Marathi manus in dhoti and turban while a Malayali might be found wearing a lungi. In true Indian spirit, even non-Hindus like Jews, Catholics, Parsis and Muslims are expected to join the celebrations. In fact, Dr. Dawood A Dalvi, ex-Principal of DnyanSadhana College is leading the entire event co-ordination, denoting clearly that the event cuts across all religious boundaries.

The procession will start at 7 am on April 02 and will be flagged off by city Mayor Sharada Raut in presence of Dy. Mayor Subhash Kale, and the Kopaneshwar Mandir committee chairman PW Rege. City Police commissioner will welcome the procession at Jambli Naka with his Police band. Leading the procession will be a Palkhi (an intricately carved and exquisitely upholstered palanquin) which will carry the temple’s deity. About 400 volunteers from Sanskar Bharti will decorate with Rangoli the path of the Palkhi.

The rally, which begins at the Kopaneshwar temple, will traverse many important spots of the city including Jain Mandir, Khopat Circle, Makhmali road, TMC Building, Panch Pakhadi, Hari Nivas, Gokhale road and Ram Maruti Road before heading back to the temple.

The procession will comprise of 60 different floats signifying cultural, educational and social themes of relevance. For instance, the Jidnyasa trust plans a cycle convoy to drive home the anti-pollution thrust.

During the procession, Gudis produced without by physically challenged individuals belonging to Vishwas Organisation, will be available for sale. A gudi is a decorated pole with a brass or a silver vessel placed on it. It is hung on windows to celebrate Mother Nature’s bounty on Gudi Padwa.

As a run up to the celebrations, the evening prior to the New Year will also witness a few exciting events. At 7 pm on Aoril 01, 2003, which is a New Moon day, the Masunda Lake will become glimmer as hundreds of residents will turn up at the periphery of the lake with candles and diyas in their hands. Soon afterwards, a magnificent display of fireworks light up the sky, and with it, the hearts of all Thaneites.

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