I’ve said ‘Bon Voyage’ to my close friends by now, all within a span of 4-5 hours, as they’ve all set off for small trips away from the city here, meaning to celebrate New Year’s Eve in India surrounded by the beach and good music.
New Year’s Eve in India: Party time with friends for some…
Living down south in India, most people of our age – folks in their 20s – and also a major chunk from both the younger and older clan can be found in Goa and a couple of other beaches and hill stations close by, during this time of the holidays. Goa has probably been the center point, primarily because of its beauty and the fact that it hosts a couple of the biggest music festivals of the country. Although the dates of the major music festivals have shifted this year, there are a bunch of new upcoming festivals that would still pull the music oriented crowd and not break their aged ritual of ‘New Year parties in the Goa’.
I am looking for company this time, to spend New Year’s Eve in India with. All my loved ones are away, most of them being artists who ought to be doing their job on the 31st night, making people happy with music. All other acquaintances who might have made good company are also in some far off corner of the country, staring at the map, deciding where they would take off to the next morning. Oh, how I regret it, while I write this, regret staying back home and not finding myself lost in some corner of this huge country.
…Family time for others
That brings me to the activity people usually end up doing on New Year’s Eve in India; stay home with close family and friends, drink, eat, and laugh. A small – or a massive – house party is never a bad idea, especially when traveling during on season isn’t your cup of tea.
Given the number of people we have in this country and the fact that I am not good at demographics, I am not quite sure about the percentage of people who choose the former or latter, but more or less, it’s always been a mix of ideas and plans amongst the population, when it comes to their New Year’s Eve celebrations in India.
Quite a few families I know take off for family vacations because they believe in staying together and welcoming the year together. Some don’t, maybe because they want everyone to be doing what they love the most, while joyfully bringing in the year. The clubs and pubs have special offers and menus for the night, to make it a better experience for the customers. The music artists are I guess the busiest ones, for such venues pull a herds of people from different categories and walks of life, all having the option to pick from the kind of music they would like to listen to.
Although I have never been a part of anything similar, smaller villages and towns too have gatherings and festivals that invite people to be together during the last few days and nights of the year. Also, the very first month of the year in the country sees many regional festivals, mostly harvest festivals that also hold some zodiacal importance. Lohri, Pongal and Makar Sankranti being the very first ones, quite a few preparations begin from months ago. People celebrate both the festivals differently with different rituals, while the reason of celebration is the same. Special clothes, food items, decorations and activities like Kite flying take place during all this.
Kite flying is a beautiful sight, indeed. Imagine a sky filled with the brightest of the kites and the strangest of the shapes that you can ever imagine, and of course the children of all age group, screaming out of joy while doing a friendly competition.
The city is very lit up during the course of end of December to the mid of Jan. I just happened to travel to a couple of states up north, and you could see almost every family out on the road, walking, shopping, feasting, celebrating and being together. For many families and others it’s special and one of the only times to be together since people get Christmas leaves apart from 1st January, and schools and colleges have a long winter vacation around this time. So, their excitement is only expected.
My thoughts on resolutions?
Feeling happy about another year coming in, which only makes you a little older and making resolutions about doing things differently from the 1st of January, is something that I honestly never got the point of. For everyday could be the beginning of something new, could it not? But yes, that’s quite a common practice all across the world. There, one type of sentiments from the wide range of emotions that hit you during all the hurly-burly of the a new year. But I guess everyone goes through something different and wants something different from the official mark of the new beginning.
The bottom line of it all remains the same; a better life for all, less sufferings and pain, better opportunities and a healthier or wealthier time, and of course to make the most of the new year. With regards to this New Year’s Eve in India does not differ from New Year’s Eve anywhere else.
© All photos via Ritu Arya