There is a traditional New Year festival celebrated in most of the states of India. The way this festival is celebrated differs depending on the state, regions and traditions. Just as the official new year is celebrated on January 1st of every year, similarly even various regions in India celebrates traditional New Year on different days of the calendar year. The date for the traditional New Year is set as per astronomical movements.
The state of Maharashtra celebrates the advent of the Spring season which is also known as the harvesting season in very high spirits. This is the time when the people of Maharashtra celebrate. It signifies the fulfillment of the wishes for prosperity among the people. It also signifies greater dreams of harvest and prosperity to be achieved.
This day has several colorful rituals and traditions and the people of Maharashtra celebrate this day with great dances and culture programs. The Gudi Padawa is considered to be a very auspicious festival.
In some places, there are competitions held during the same festival. This can be either a Rangoli competition or dance competitions. Girls are seen dancing in merriment to loud music and they are also in colorful clothing. There are others who are seen drawing beautiful rangoli designs and filling it with colored powder.
History of the Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra
In addition to the significance and the colors /rituals of the festival, there is a mythological story behind many of the festivals celebrated in the traditional style. As per Hindu belief, Brahma made the universe on this day. So it is celebrated as a new season or new year. On this same day, Rama has successfully and victoriously defeated Bali, so this is another reason that this day is celebrated.
Every second of this day is very auspicious to the people who are celebrating this festival or observing the auspicious time. It is one of the three most important days within the Hindu calendar.
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When it is Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra celebrated?
25 March, 2020 - Wednesday
This year the festival of Gudi Padawa is celebrated on 25 March, 2020. It generally falls within the earlier summer months. This is because it is a festival that celebrates the onset of harvest or spring.
Every year there are different dates as it is based on the changes of the seasons.It marks the first day in the Lunar Month. Also, it is the first day of the first month in the Hindu calendar called ‘Chaitra’. The word ‘Padawa’ means the same.
Traditions of Gudi Padwa
This day symbolizes the victory of lord Rama over Ravana. This is a symbol of victory and is therefore regarded in a very high esteem. This celebrates the return of Rama to Ayodhya after the completion of 14 years exile.
How is Gudi Padwa celebrated in Maharashtra?
This is a very special day for the Hindus of Maharashtra. They wake up early in the morning so that they can perform the rituals happily. The very first ritual is to wash the front floor of their homes. They then draw colorful designs and then they decorate the designs with flower petals and small cakes of cow dung.
In villages, some people at times even use water mixed with cow dung for washing the yard as they have crude soil outside the front yard. The vibrant colors in the beautifully drawn ‘rangolis’ is a great sight. Many onlookers take pictures of different types of Rangolis.
People take special baths in the morning of this festival and put an earthen pot filled with neem leaves, flowers & even coconuts. This is one of the rituals they follow. In many houses in Maharashtra, they take a decked up stick which is generally a bamboo stick, and stick it in the mud in the front of the house.
At the top of the stick is a piece of shiny cloth tied like a flag. Then they hang a pot from the other side of the stick and put colorful flowers around it, or put a garland of flowers around the pot. This stick with a cloth, a pot, and flowers is a symbol of victory that is celebrated in this festival.
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People of Maharashtra wear new and colorful clothes to mark this festival. They prepare different types of sweet & ‘prasad’ which is a special food prepared in a unique way. It is then offered to God before the family members eat them. The special preparation is believed by the local people to make them fight diseases faster. It is said that the immunity system gets better and stronger after eating this ‘prasad’.
Neem flowers, small amounts of tamarind, different pulses & grams, carom seeds, jagerry are some ingredients that are mixed together and prepared and served as prasad on the special festival.
People of different households also make delicious sweets and desserts at this special festival. Some of the most famous sweet dishes are fresh ‘jelebis’ and ‘Shirkhand’ also. People savor these sweets with friends, neighbors, and relatives and celebrate this festival.
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