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Devotees celebrate New Year in Varanasi|National[Varanasi{Varanasi, Mar. 16 (ANI): Hindu devotees welcomed the traditional New Year by performing early morning prayers and rituals on the banks of the River Ganga in Varanasi on Tuesday.

The festival of 'Nav Samvatsar' is celebrated as the birth of Mother Earth and devotees gather in large numbers on the bank to participate in holy rituals.

Young Brahmin boys, also known as 'Vedpathis', sing Vedic hymns and perform Surya Namaskara on the first day of the festival.

"Nav Samvatsar has great significance in our Indian culture and Hindu religion. On the first day of this festival we pray that god blesses us with peace and prosperity throughout the year. We just hope and pray for a happy year ahead," said D K Thakur, Deputy Inspector General of Police of Varanasi.

After the initial prayers, devotees thronged the riverbanks for a dip in Ganga to cleanse their souls.

The astrologers revealed the Hindu calendar, which is prepared according to the planetary motion, on this day.

"This Nav Samvatsar is dedicated to the nature and is celebrated as the new year of the Mother Earth. I extend my heartiest wishes on this occasion," said Atul Tandon, an astrologer.

The Hindu calendar also has 12 months like its Roman counterpart and most of the months are named after various seasons and astrological signs. (ANI)

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