That day coincides with the Sun’s entrance into the constellation Mesha (Aries), the first sign in Hindu astrology. Following this astrological calculation, the celebration falls on April 14 in most years.
Hindus don new clothes, exchange sweets, gifts and greetings of goodwill. They clean their homes and decorate the entrance and shrine room with beautiful, colorful patterns called kolam or rangoli, symbols of auspiciousness.
They visit temples, beseeching God and the Gods for blessings for the year ahead. The Goddess Lakshmi and the elephant-headed God Ganesha are especially venerated on this day.
In some communities, elders give money to youth and children as a token of good luck—making the year’s fi rst fi nancial act selfl ess and thus auspicious.
In South Indian families, a dazzling arrangement called “kani” is created in the home on New Year’s Eve. It is a display of money, jewels and clothing, plants and fl owers, fruits and sweets, in the center of which stands a shrine with Hindu Deities.
At dawn on New Year’s Day, the matriarch wakes up the family members one by one and blindfolds them. She guides them to the shrine and there removes the blindfold, assuring that their fi rst sight of the year is the auspicious, gleaming kani.
One of the beautiful things to see is a mirror, which serves a dual purpose: it symbolically doubles the abundance and refl ects the family with all the signs of wealth around them—an elegant catalyst to manifestation! – From Hinduism Today