April 14 is a significant date for Indians in Malaysia and worldwide. Various celebrations – including Vaisakhi, Vishu and Puthandu – are observed on this day by the different Indian communities.
Ugadi, meanwhile, was celebrated yesterday.
Here’s what you need to know about the four celebrations.
Vaisakhi is a day of thanksgiving for abundant harvest as the community prays for future prosperity.
Religiously, it also the day when the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, in 1699, gathered Sikhs to form the Khalsa community.
In Malaysia, Vaisakhi is usually celebrated with the community going to gurdwaras for prayer sessions followed by house visits among family members and friends. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin attended a Vaisakhi hi-tea at Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya on April 12.
Vaisakhi is not the Sikh New Year which, according to the Nanakshahi calendar, is on March 14.
Vishu, which means ‘equal’ in Sanskrit, is the first day of the Malayalam calendar. Vishu symbolises the beginning of the spring season and is celebrated in Kerala as the harvest festival and marks the day farmers begin ploughing the land and other agricultural activities.
According to the Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India, there are several mythological tales linked to Vishu. One such story is that it is the day when Lord Krishna killed Narakasura, a demon.
“There is another belief that Vishu is celebrated as the return of Surya Dev. According to other folklore, Ravana, the demon king, never allowed Surya Dev or the Sun God to rise from the east. It was on the day of Vishu, after the death of Ravana, the sun or Surya Dev started to rise from the east. Since then, Vishu has been celebrated with great zeal.”
The day starts with pooja (prayers) as followers don new clothes. The young ones collect Vishukkaineetam – where the elders give money (coins or notes) so that the children are blessed with prosperity.
The festival marks the first day of the Tamil month, Chithirai. On this day, people wish each other “Chithirai Puthandu Vazthukal” (Happy New Year).
According to mythology, it is believed that Lord Brahma created the universe on this day.
Those celebrating Puthandu will don new clothes and arrange three fruits — jackfruit, banana and mango – on a tray. In a ritual known as Kanni, they will also place silver or gold jewellery, money, betel leaves and flowers on the tray. This is to bring happiness and prosperity.
Celebrated by the Telegu community yesterday, Ugadi or Yugadi consists of two Sanskrit words- Yug meaning era and Adi meaning beginning.
Ugadi is the day Lord Brahma formed the universe. It is also believed to be the time marking the homecoming of Lord Rama.
Twentytwo13 wishes our readers a Happy Vaisakhi, Happy Vishu, Chithirai Puthandu Vazthukal and Happy Ugadi!
And to those fasting, Selamat Berpuasa!