‘Chaithra’ in Sanskrit means sanctuary and refers to the beginning of Spring season (Mar – Apr). According to Hindu mythology, on the first day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase) of the Chaitra month, Lord Brahma began his creation of the universe. Hence, this day is observed as New Year all over the country and is called by various names:
Significant Festivals during the month of Chaitra
Chaitra (or Chithirai) is the sacred month during which Sun transits into the first zodiac sign Mesha or Aries and gets exalted, marking the first day of the Hindu solar calendar.
Following are the festivals observed in the month of Chaitra:
Rama Navami – Lord Rama was born on the Shukla Paksha Navami (9th Waxing Moon) in the month of Chaitra and is celebrated as Rama Navami.
Matsya Jayanthi – Lord Vishnu incarnated as Matsya or a giant fish (first incarnation) called Matsya avatar on Shukla Paksha Tritiya (3rd Waxing Moon) to restore the lost Vedas.
Hanuman Jayanthi – Lord Hanuman was born on the full Moon day in the month of Chaitra and is celebrated as Hanuman Jayanthi.
Vasant Navaratri – A nine day festival starting from the day of Ugadi of the Uttrayana period, during which Goddess Durga is worshipped in some parts of India, whereas Lord Rama is revered in certain regions as Rama Navaratri. During this period, sacred texts like Ramayana, Sundarakanda, and Devi Bhagavatham are read.
Gangaur – An important festival of Rajasthan, which celebrates the harvest season and marital fidelity. ‘Gana’ denotes Lord Shiva and ‘Gaur’ denotes Goddess Parvati and celebrating them symbolizes Saubaghya or marital bliss.
Yamuna Chhath – It marks the descending of Goddess Yamuna into the earth plane on Shukla Paksha Shashti (6th Waxing Moon) in the month of Chaitra. This day is also known as Yamuna Jayanthi and falls during Chaitra Navatri. Since Goddess Yamuna is the wife of Lord Krishna, this day is celebrated mainly in Mathura and Brindavan.
Kamada Ekadasi – Lord Vishnu is worshipped with an early bath and strict fasting on the day of Kamada Ekadasi.
Mahavir Jayanthi – Birth anniversary of the last Tirthankara – Vardhman Mahavira, the founder of Jainism
Owing to all these glorious festivals, Chaitra becomes a very auspicious month for the commencement of Vedic learning and Upanayana or sacred thread ceremony – formal initiation of education or spiritual knowledge.