Navreh 2016: Know how Kashmiri Pandits celebrate their New Year!

Navreh is on April 8, 2016.

Navreh 2016: Know how Kashmiri Pandits celebrate their New Year!
Platter which Kashmiri Pandits look at as the first thing in the morning on Navreh.

India is a diverse land which prides in being home to multiple cultures while respecting their equally multitudinous traditions. Similarly, the Kashmiri Pandits of Jammu & Kashmir take pride in celebrating their New Year on the first day of the bright half of the month of Chaitra, which falls somewhere between March–April), and it is called Navreh. This year Navreh is on April 8, 2016.

Navreh is derived from Sanskrit word 'Nava-Varsha', meaning New Year. There is a customary practice of preparing a plate full of unhusked rice with a bread, a small bowl of yogurt, salt, sugar candy, a few walnuts or almonds, silver coin and Rs 10 note would also do, a pen, a mirror, some flowers (rose, marigold, crocus, or jasmine) and the new panchanga or almanac. Also, one has to keep Kashmiri Jantri (a panchang book which has an account of all the important dates as per Kashmiri tradition).

Interestingly, all of this is prepared during the night itself as the first thing in the morning is to look at this plate, and then start your day. Kashmiri Pandits observe the same ritual of preparing the plate and looking at it in the morning on Sonth or the Kashmiri spring festival.

According to the Kashmiri Hindu calendar, the Saptarshi Era is believed to have started on the same day, about 5079 years ago. 

The legend has it that the celebrated Saptarishis flocked together on he Sharika Parvat also known as  Hari Parbat in Kashmir—abode of the goddess Sharika, at the auspicious moment when the first ray of the sun fell on the Chakreshvara on this day and paid tribute to her. 

On Navreh Kashmiri Pandits visit the Hari Parbhat to seek goddess Sharika's blessings. Also, kids ususally wear new clothes to mark the New Year!

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