Katrik Sud 1, marks the end of the monsoon season in India. The significance is that traditionally crops would now be ready to be harvested and the first offering is to God Almighty in appreciation. This is know as Annakut [ann – grain(food), kut – mountain].
In the modern era, an ‘Annakut’ of hundreds of foods, organised in tiers is placed in front of the Lord as an offering. After which it is offered as prashad to all who do darshan. The food mountain depicts Mount Govardhan.
In Gokul, the tradition was to give thanksgiving was to Lord Indra - deity of rain, as it was believed he graces the rain which grows the crops, enabling them to live happily. This was questioned by Lord Shri Krishna, who argued that no one had seen Indra and the benefits of his worship were questionable. He explained that it is the fruits of an individual’s karma’s (actions), that bestow him happiness and misery. He stated poojan of Mount Govardhan, the cows and Bhramins, is greater than Indra’s pooja and from thereon fodder should be offered to cows and food to Govardhan. Poojan of Govardhan began, which angered Lord Indra. He expressed his anger by unleashing a deluge heavy rain and lighting for seven continuous days upon Gokul in order to destroy it. The village looked towards Lord Krishna to save them. Lord Shri Krishna raised Mount Govardhan and held it aloft with his little finger, sheltering the residents and cattle of Gokul. As Lord Shri Krishna had told them it would, Mount Govardhan had protected them.
The Annakut is symbolic of the Lord Supreme’s and only the Lord Supreme’s power to protect: not worldly or materialistic factors. Accordingly it is celebrated in temples across the world with the highest due care, affection, glory and splendour.
Hindu New Year
Also known as Nutan Varsh, and Bestu Varsh. The Hindu New Year commences upon Kartik Sud 1. The day is a very auspicious and historically significant. It celebrates the victory of the great King Vikramaditya, after whom the Hindu calendar is named; “Vikram Samvant”. It was considered the dawn of a new era. Over 2000 years later this day is still remembered and celebrated.
In the modern era, the day still caries much tradition and significance. Everybody gets up early, dresses in their best, before going onto do darshan of God, where they seek blessings for the forthcoming new year. Elders and relatives are greeted and blessings sought. There is a general atmosphere of happiness and joy in the excited anticipation of a new year of happiness and prosperity, it is believed the person who remains joyous on this first day will experience happiness for the rest of the year. It is the high point of the year and celebrated accordingly.