The new Hope.......NAVREH
Navreh the first day of the Saptarshi era of the lunar year marks the start of the year for Kashmiri pandits,the first day of Chetra Shukla Paksha is celebrated as the start of Chetra Navratra, "Navratra's the nine days sacred to the Goddess Durga.
Nilamata Purana mentions the festival as Navavar Shotsava and describes how Joyly it was celebrated in the ancient times in Kashmir among Kashmiri pandit community, this day finds a special mention in other Purans too.
Navreh has historical significance as well as it commemorates the victory of the King Chandragupta Moreya over the Shaka's. Navreh is the day when the new Panchang (Almanac) with astrological data of auspicious days and other related information for the New Hindu calendar year in Kashmir is brought out.The calendar year of Saptarshi itself reveals how old the Kashmiri pandits existence is.
The first day of the solar calendar Chetra is spring day called Sonth" and the new moon day of Chetra " is celebrated as Navreh.
The beautiful feature of Navreh is that the preparations for this event (Navreh) starts the night before with preparation know as Thaal Barun". An elderly lady of a pandits household fills a Thai with rice (Thaili a metal plate preferably of Bronze) on this rice filled Thaili she places various items like new Panchang (Almanac), walnuts (in odd numbers like five, seven or nine)
Unhusked paddy. Lump of cooked rice, one piece of Bread (usually Kulcha) curd Milk in small katories, little Salt, A pen an Inkpot, A Book. A piece of Herb called Waigander" Fresh flowers, A Currency note, A Mirror, A Photograph of chosen dirty, A Golden ornament like Ring or a Bangle and Kreel Pachh. This ritual is known as Thaal Barun, the process of all this assemblage is called Thaal Barun, which is completed after dinner. The Thaal is covered with a coloured cloth and kept in a central place of the sitting room.
Early in the morning of Navreh before sunrise a female member of the family, usually unmarried daughter carries this Thaili to all the members of the household even to their beds to enable them to have a look at it as the first object in the morning of the New Year, which is considered auspicious.This ritual is known as Buth vuechhun.
Buth vuechhun is said to bring auspiciousness and Good luck to the entire family and symbolizes prosperity for the coming year.
The rice kept in the Thaali is used for making Tahar" (a yellow coloured cooked rice) which is later eaten by family members.
It is a tradition among the Kashmiri pandits to prepare TAHAR on festivals which is offered as Naveed (Prashad), which is prepared by adding turmeric power to rice while boiling, later salt and ghee is mixed with it.
In this context as such every item arranged on this Thali is supposed to have some symbolic significance.
Rice:- Rice has a principle place in all Kashmiri Pandit rites and rituals. It is a symbol of abundance, life growth, development, expansion and prosperity.
Unhusked Paddy:- connotes unsullied clarity, natural perfection and untainted Life without deception and imitation.
Lump of Cooked rice:- is the symbol of transformation and progression. It is considered a Prasad rather gift of God to the mankind. It is source of energy.
Walnuts:- it's four kernels represent's the four Purusharth's or gole of Life,
Dharma (righteousness) Artha (wealth) Kaama (fulfillment of all desire) and Moksha (Salvation), it also represents four Vedas.
Wai Gander (Acorus calamus) is a herb which symbolises a disease free ailment free life, a good health.
Curd and Milk:- Called Amrit, it symbolises of fullness, stability and conesiveness in life.
Book, Inkpot and Pen:- is associated to knowledge, wisdom, awareness, I insight, Enlightenment, Intellectual, brilliance, in total worldly knowledge (A para vidya) and higher knowledge of the self (Para vidya)
Salt:- it supposed to generate positive energy and drive away negative energy,it add for social relationship.
Bread (Kulcha):- Bread is considered symbolic representation of absorption, expansion and integration in one's socio- cultural surrounding.
Currency Note:- Represents As Dhanyalkshmi, wealth bestowed by Mata Lakshmi.
Golden ornament, represents good fortune, material strength, purity and auspiciousness, it Also drive away evil influence.
Fresh Flowers:- Represents freshness, new hops and beauty of nature, it cheers the mood of a person and pulls him out of Depression and Detection.
Mirror:- it shows us the real appearance, it shows us the truthfulness. Looking In a mirror is regarded as auspicious by the Hindu's.
Punchang (janthri) is of importantly used in every Kashmiri Pandit household as it is essentially consulted on different occasions for knowing the right configuration of the planets before doing anything.
Kreel pachh:- is the picture of the Ishta Davi rather personal deity of the family, indicating the family's religious orientation.
It is considered auspicious to wear new. Or freshly, washed clothes on the eve. A new born baby or a new bride in the family is an object of attention, who is showered blessings by the elders of the family.
Newly married girls, it is a tradition go to their parents house before the day and return to in- laws in time to join the fastival carrying curd and some cash from their parents house as a good omen.
People would invite their daughters and son-in-law to a Navreh fest to relish the dish called Vostahaak and Nadru. the delicious dish that Kashmiri Pandit love to eat.
The fastival of Navreh is thus a part of the age-old traditions of Kashmiri Pandits.