Celebrate the Diversity and Re-Discover the Unity – This New Year

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Wish you all a happy new year, Subho nababarsho [Bengali], Sawatdii pimaï [Thai], Hnit thit ku mingalar pa [Burmese], Naya Barsa Ko Hardik Shuvakamana [Nepali], Nav varsh ki subhkamna [Hindi], Iniya puthandu nal Vazhthukkal [Tamil], Suba nava vasarak wewa [Sinhalese]

This is an amazing time for many countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia when most of us celebrate the traditional New Year. The New Year is celebrated between 13th to the 15th of April in India, Nepal, Myanmar [Burma], Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

In addition to being united by the dates of the celebration that runs across all these countries, all of these cultures have common rituals such as cleaning their houses, cooking fresh new food, dressing in new clothes of designated colours, visiting relations & friends, enjoying traditional music and taking part in religious rituals.

There is beautiful diversity in the variety of traditions being used in different countries and states. From lighting small oil lamps and dressing in flowers in India,  taking a ritual wash or bath in the Hunumantay River in Nepal, Mehendi body painting and face painting in Bangladesh, the water festivals in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia and following of the auspicious times to light the fire, boil milk, take a bath, exchange gifts and go to work etc. in Sri Lanka.

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