Happy new year?

Still in the funk from last week, although it appears to be chemical in nature, so that’s sort of comforting (i.e. it will end eventually, without me doing anything). I’ve been running myself ragged and am tired, so it’s hard to be positive at the moment. I apologize in advance for any “Debbie Downer” attitude in my blog posts. Believe me when I say that it’s sheer physical weariness.

Anyway. I logged onto my Google Reader this morning and saw Gori Rajkumari’s post announcing the Marathi Hindu New Year, and realized that I’m possibly missing celebrating another holiday. In reality, I have no idea how to celebrate. I feel blindsided by Hindu holidays a lot of the time, because unlike Christian holidays, they’re not celebrated by a majority population in the U.S., and I haven’t celebrated most of them before. I miss a lot. Sometimes it’s also difficult to figure out which are universal Hindu holidays and which are more regional in nature. This one, thankfully, is a regional sort of holiday (or so the oracle of the Internet, Wikipedia, tells me), but I’m sure I’ll miss some more before the year is out.

I have to remind myself not to stress about it, especially since the greatest benefit that has come from practicing Hinduism is a marked decrease in my daily stress level, and getting stressed out about Hindu practice feels counterproductive. I will write the dates of the holidays I miss in my calendar and do my best to celebrate next year. At the moment, I’m trying to work out how to observe Ram Navami, what with my obligations to the local SCA (historical reenactment) group. I am also working out how not to feel guilty if I don’t manage to work it out. Or how not to feel guilty for simply observing it at home.

I mean, isn’t that the whole point of this path? Guilt isn’t really something productive. It keeps you anchored in the past, instead of helping you move forward. I imagine this is part of the detachment we’re working to achieve, which is to say that although things may not have worked out the way you had intended, you move forward with renewed enthusiasm, equipped with the knowledge you gained on your failed attempt. So if I miss a holiday while I’m learning, it’s not the end of the world. It will happen again next year.

(Random aside: there are these weird, mostly offensive advertisements for cash-cow “evangelist” Creflow Dollar on the MARTA trains in Atlanta. On one of the trains we took this weekend, someone had flipped the ads around to the blank side and written in Hindu/Buddhist philosophy in Sharpie marker. It made me smile.)

About HappyGoth

By day, I'm a graphic designer. By night, I'm a knitter. I'm doing my part to keep Hotlanta stylish. I imagine that if you don't already understand the title of the blog, you're probably confused and perhaps slightly annoyed, but never fear - I do have a reason (and it's a good one). Having gone to hear Stephanie Pearl McPhee, and then having been inspired to blog about knitting, I found myself wondering what to call the blog. I recalled a conversation I had with Mouse and the Chicken Goddess about why it is a Bad Idea to anger knitters - this conversation was following SPM, aka the Yarn Harlot telling the assembled throng about Those Who Do Not Understand Knitting and Therefore Belittle It Much to the Chagrin of Others, or TWDNUKTBMCO, which is not the acronym she used but is the one I'm using because I forgot hers - that is, we are numerous and we all have very pointy sticks, easily transforming into an angry mob. Therefore, knitters = angry mob.
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14 Responses to Happy new year?

  1. Kamal says:

    Happy Ugadi to you too. With regards to date its of no use because its going to change next year anyway, Hindu calendar is different and based on the movements of moon and other planets. And your confusion regarding how to celebrate and pray you need to read about shabhari( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabari ). Regarding having one deity I always wonder why westerners are so concerned about having one deity, Sanatana Dharma is not about worshiping a deity its about following dharma, you can be an atheist and still be an Hindu. Ramnavami comes in summer hence in Karnataka it is celebrated by preparing Honeydew melon juice and Kosambari (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosambari) as of offering to Lord Rama and is distributed to everyone. And if you want to have one deity you can choose one which fits your character, because Hindu’s always select one depending on their caste(depending on what they do) for eg. tribals and other warrior class people select shiva in his angry form such as Rudra, Bhairava and parvathi as Kali, chamundi, durga etc, where as people who are of a soft spoken class worship him as shiva, nataraja etc.

    • HappyGoth says:

      Thanks for reading, Kamal!

      I’m becoming increasingly more comfortable with the many deities of Hinduism. I believe that part of the struggle for me has been coming from a monotheistic background; growing up, there was only one God (although now that I think about it, I did pray to both Jesus and God, so I suppose it’s not that different, really).

      I’ve realized lately that the details and my concentration on them are getting in the way of true devotion. I appreciate your sharing the story of Shabari; it helps clear up some questions I have!

      At any rate, Ganesha is always present and worshiped first, whether he’s on my home altar or if I go to temple. I find his presence to be a great comfort. The rest seem to be sorting themselves out gradually. I have been hearing from various Hindu people about which deities are worshiped in their families, and am growing more comfortable with several; Ganesha, Rama/Sita/Lakshman/Hanuman, Krishna, Lakshmi/Durga/Saraswati, and Shiva. I imagine this will change a little as I learn and practice more.

      I appreciate your helpful and supportive comments! Please do keep reading!

  2. Kamal says:

    sorry I couldnt stop myself from writing about worshiping one deity no hindu worships one deity. for eg. my Mom and her family worship Shiva while my Father and his family worship Vishnu so our house temple consists of shiva with parvathi and vishnu with Lakshmi. Regardless of who they worship there will always be a Ganesha Statue because he should be the first who need to be worshiped before anyone else.

  3. Pramod Kushwaha says:

    Hindu calendar is not lunar but solar. The days and months are based on lunar movment but the year is always regularly updated by inserting an additional 13th month every three years to keep it in pace with the tropical year. The dates of Hindu festivals keep on pulsating -1 to +1 month when compared to the Tropical Year (Gregorian Calendar, Indian Saka Calendar)

  4. surya says:

    happy ugadi all, happy new year.

  5. surya says:

    by the way we are in year 5111 now according to hindu calaendar. shanti om.

  6. Sita says:

    Hi .Its been a long while since i last visited.
    About new year -Please don’t worry,as each of our states,even adjacent ones,celebrate our New years on different dates.Some of us Solie-Lunar Others luni-solar.They are different & confusing even for us born Hindus.For ex. The person above is from the state of Karnataka,He/she celebrate Ugadi on the day after Newmoon after Vernal equinox.[On the sameday-Telugus of Andra Pradesh also celebrate it as Ugadi ,while Maharashtrian/Marathi New year is called Gudi-Padwa,& Kashmiri Pandits call it Nav-Reh;Manipur also Celebrates its new year ,but I forget the name]
    The states of Kerala,TamilNadu,Assam,Bengal,Orissa,&Punjab Celebrate New Year on the day the Sun enters the Aries quadrant in the sky[which usually falls in mid-April,give or take a day]We [I am a Tamilian] also call our New year by various other names like Bihu,Vishu,VarushaPirappu,Baisakhi etc.
    So you can really suit yourself about this.
    About Festivals like Rama-Navami KrishnaJayanthi/Janmaashtami,Vinayakka Chaturthi etc.Usually falls on the same day regardless of the calendar you follow. But there is a difference in how we celebrate. Ex, For RamaNavami,In addition to the above mentioned Salad[we call it Kosumalli,in our language]We also have panakam[a drink made of un-refined sugar mixed in Water,along with cardamom &Dried Ginger] & Neer More[which is diluted Buttermilk with a seasoning of mustard seeds,chillies,salt, fresh ginger-crushed & asafoetida]-Which are distributed to all who come to the temple for the SeetaKalyanam [Marriage of Rama &Sita conducted in the Temple,as a conclusion of the nine days of the Vasanta Navaratri,which is Rama Navami.
    You may observe the festivals as simply or as elaborately as you wish/can.
    We also have various other observances which are exclusive to our respective communities. Sorry for the Info deluge. I got carried away.

    • HappyGoth says:

      Please, release the deluge! I will not turn down free information. 🙂

      Thanks so much for your descriptions! They just go to show that Hinduism practice is wonderful and varied, and that there’s no one “right” way to do things. I will, however, have to try these recipes, which sound delicious, and do as much celebration as I can manage.

      Thanks for reading and sharing!

  7. Sita says:

    the recipes are closely aligned with our climate. some are any celebration; some are specific to the festival. Anoyher New Year speciality in addition to the Panakam & Neer more,is the Mango Pachadi[=to your sauce in consistency. & jam, in Taste]Its Made of Raw mango pieces cooked in unrefined/brown Sugar &seasoned with Mustard seeds,Fenugreek seeds,green chillies,salt &neem flowers].The significance is more important & beautiful,actually.It signifies that We must accept the year with its sweet ,sour,Hot/spicy & bitter experiences,the same way as the dish tastes. & that it is all good for us.UYou can substitute green/sour apples for raw mango[if it is seasonal] but I don’t know about the other flavours.See if you can find something[the ingredients that give these tastes ] similar in your region/culture,too. That would make it very wholesome ,indeed.You’ll be creating a new recipe ,then.

    • HappyGoth says:

      Hmmm… I have access to raw mangoes (thanks to an excellent market nearby), so I will have to try that. Any suggestions for substituting the neem flowers? I may be able to find them at a local Indian grocery, but they sound a little more difficult to locate than green mangoes.


  8. Sita says:

    There might be dried neem flowers in an Indian shop. But you may use any local flowers that are edible /Medicinal & bitter.Something Bitter..I used to wonder if Hinduism was situated in other continents ,instead of India,what they would have used for the rituals as substitute for coconut,betel leaves,&areca-nut,turmeric etc. You can also tap traditional Amer-Indian folk knowledge ,if available. Or borrow from a South-Indian Family near you.

  9. Aamba says:

    Holidays are for fun, in my opinion. They are community and activities and food and fun, but worshiping Gods happens every day!

    • HappyGoth says:

      True! Thanks for the reminder!

      I’ve stopped stressing about it, actually. Things will happen in their own time, and I can worship at home any time I like! That’s a nice thing.

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