Indian Proverb: “May you be blessed for a hundred new years”

The Proverb:


“May you be blessed for a hundred new years.” [Origin: Andhra Pradesh, India]


Informant: “So anytime that I call my mom at the exact same time that she’s trying to call me, she always picks up the phone with “[Informant’s name!], may you be blessed for a hundred new years”. My mother is of Telugu descent [South Indian Indigenous culture], and she says that the reason why she says that is because she’s so happy that I’m thinking of her at the same time that she’s thinking of me.”


My analysis of the use of this saying in the specific context of calling someone simultaneously differs slightly from that of my informant. In Hinduism, and specifically within indigenous/Dravidian cultures, coincidences like these, especially when two individuals complete the same action or thought at the same time, are perceived as inauspicious or bad luck. While the reasoning isn’t necessarily clear, a the roots for this superstition can be traced back to Vedic Astrology, which holds the belief that such coincidences disturb the cosmic balance and can bring about bad luck. Superstitions are common throughout Hinduism, and many take averting them seriously. Similarly to the expression “knock on wood”, I believe that this proverb is used in the context of warding off bad luck/karma.

In ancient Dravidian culture, the number 100, which is the number of years expressed in the Proverb, is constantly seen throughout holy scriptures as it symbolizes the idea of ‘completeness’ or a ‘complete cycle’. The number is considered auspicious, and by blessing someone for a 100 years, you are both wishing them prosperity and longevity across the ‘complete cycle of their life’. In Hindu culture, old age is tremendously respected as is health and abundance. Even non-Dravidian/non-Indigenous aspects of Hinduism recognize the value of the ‘100’. In Vedic astrology, several specific rituals are performed that supposedly grant recipients a ‘century of life’, which symbolizes a complete/fulfilled existence for the rest of your time. The inclusion of ‘new’ year instead of just year also indicates the idea of a complete cycle, as the new year signifies the beginning of a new yearly cycle. By examining both the proverb itself and the superstitious context in which it is said, there is strong evidence that this proverb is specifically used to ward of bad luck, especially in circumstances where one may be superstitious.