Hindu SwayamsevakSangh (HSS), Brisbane Branch celebrated Varsha Pratipada Utsav 2017, on 2 April 2017.
The Utsav started with some physical activities. This included some warm up exercises, Surya Namaskars and games. To ensure the intensity of the activities is customized and suitable, all attendees were allocated into three groups. The games played brought back good old memories amongst the attendees of their younger days when they played similar games without the use of modern sports equipment yet had all the fun.
The second part of the Utsav was conducted indoors. To calm and settle everyone from the physical activity outdoors, a Sangh Geet (inspirational song sung in a chorus) was recited. This was led by a young sevika of 8 years.
This was followed by presentations by five young swayamsewak / sevika (volunteer) attendees on a range of topics; why, how and when we celebrate Varsha Pratipada Utsav. To conclude, a baudhik on the significance of Varsha Pratipada Utsav (“New Year” festival)was presented. The Utsav is celebrated in many parts of India. It is called by different names, For example, Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, Rogali Bihu and Bikhauti. Baishakhi the spring harvest festival also falls a couple days after.
The festival is celebrated in a wide variety of ways that have become local customs. The variations are primarily due to different climatic conditions, fruit and flowers available and the local geography. However, they have two things in common:
- Celebrate the year just past with family and friends through food and dance.
- Start the new year on a clean slate by cleaning and decorating the house and surroundingsand seek blessing from elders and God for a successful and prosperous new year ahead.
The Festival signifies / reminds us of numerous puranic, historic and cultural events. For example:
- Puranas – Lord Brahma started to create the universe; Marks the beginning of Kaliyug; Start of Navratri festival; Lord Ram was coronated; King Yudhishtira was coronated;
- Religious – Swami Dayananda established the Arya Samaj;
- Cultural – Start of spring / harvest season.
- History – King Vikramaditya and King Shalivahana were coronated;
- Sangh – The founder of Sangh, Doctor Keshav Baliram Hedgewar was born in 1889.
HSS, Brisbane conducts weekly shakhas in three locations around Brisbane:
- Sri Ram Shakha- St Lucia 4067, every Sunday 9:00 am – 10:00 am.
- Keshav Shakha- Fitzgibbon 4018, every Sunday 10:00 am – 11:00 am.
- Southside Shakha- Holland park west 4121, every Sunday 8:30 am – 9:30 am.