Today (April 14) is the first day of the Kodava month of Edmyaar. It marks the commencement of the Kodava calendar and the start of the agriculture cycle in Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka.
Kodavas (Coorgs) follow the solar calendar. On this day, cattle are yoked and the paddy fields are ploughed, to symbolically mark the occasion. Popularly known as Bisu Changrandi, the Kodava New Year corresponds to Vishu in Kerala and is observed in mid-April.
Kodavas, who were basically agriculturists, have migrated to cities like Mysuru and Bengaluru in the past few decades in large numbers. This has broken the joint family system which was in vogue for centuries.
The migration of the Kodavas to urban areas and also the remunerative prices for coffee grown by them, has led to the shrinkage of area under paddy cultivation, which was the main occupation of the people from time immemorial.
Consequent to the shift from agriculture to professional jobs, most of the people of Kodagu stopped observing the Kodava New Year, and instead began celebrating the Kannada New Year of Ugadi which had been celebrated since the time of the Lingayat Kings who ruled Kodagu from around 1600 AD to 1834.
However, in the recent years, Kodava outfits like Codava National Council and Kodava Makkada Koota, have been celebrating the Kodava New Year, also known as Edmyaar Ond. The Koota is celebrating Edmyaar Ond on Friday at the Chowrira aineman (ancestral house) in Kodagu.