Navreh

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Navreh
Observed byKashmiri Hindus
TypeSocial, Cultural, Religious
SignificanceKashmiri New Year
CelebrationsRituals
Date1st Chaitra (Lunar cycle)

Navreh (𑆤𑆮𑆫𑆼𑆲, नवरेह, نَو رؠہہ) or Kashmiri New Year is the celebration of the first day of the Kashmiri new year by Kashmiri Hindus, with the largest Kashmiri Hindu community being the Kashmiri Pandits. The word 'Navreh' is derived from Sanskrit 'Nava Varsha' meaning the New Year. Kashmiri Pandits dedicate Navreh festival to their Goddess Sharika and pay homage to her during the festival. It takes place on the first day of the bright half (Shukl Paksh) on the month of Chaitra (March–April) of the Kashmiri Hindu calendar.[2]

History

It is believed that Saptarishi era of the Kashmiri Hindus started on the day of Navreh, 5079 years ago. According to legends, Mother Goddess Sharika‘s dwelling was on Sharika Parabata (Hari Parabata) where celebrated Shapta Rishi gathered. It is an auspicious day as the first ray of sun fell on Chakreshwari and paid honor to her. This moment is considered the beginning of New Year and the Saptarishi era for astrologers.

Rituals

On the eve of the new year, the priest (kulguru) of the family provides a religious almanac (nachipatra) for the next year and a scroll (kreel pach) of the local goddess. Then a customary large plate (thali) is filled with rice and offerings like almanac, scroll, dried and fresh flowers, wye herb, new grass, curd, walnuts, pen, ink container, gold and silver coins, salt, cooked rice, wheat cakes and bread and covered on the eve of Navreh. On the day of the new year, the family members gather together, uncover the thali and view it on the holy day.

The rice and coins represent our daily bread and wealth, the pen and paper a reminder of the quest for learning, the mirror represents retrospection. The calendar signals the changing time and the Deity the Universal Constant, and they together are a reminder of the constancy of changing time. The bitter herb is reminiscent of life’s bitter aspects, to be taken in stride alongside the good. The bitter herb ‘wye’ is usually eaten with walnuts to bring wholeness of life’s experiences in the admixture.

Symbolism aside, the consumption of this bitter herb has also been practiced by Native American cultures as well as by some of the American transcendentalist philosophers for various reasons.

After seeing (darshan) the thali, each person takes a walnut to be thrown into a river The walnuts from the thali are dropped in the river as a sign of thanksgiving. Then the family members offer turmeric rice in ghee (tahar) to the goddess at the temple and seek blessings.[3]

See also

References

  1. Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA), CALENDAR 2020-2021 (PDF), retrieved 4 December 2020
  2. "Navreh The New Year Day in Kashmir".
  3. Crump, William D. (2014), Encyclopedia of New Year's Holidays Worldwide, MacFarland, page 114-115

Further reading

Template:New Year by Calendar