Celebrate Gudi Padwa Festival in Maharashtra
There is a traditional New Year festival celebrated in most of the states around India. This differs on the state region and traditions. Just like the official new year celebrations happens on January 1st of the New Year, even various regions in India celebrates their traditional New Year on different days of the calender year. This is done as per astronomical movements and the date for traditional New Year is set for the year.
Similarly, in the state of Maharashtra, they celebrate the advent of Spring season which is also known as the harvest season in great merriment. This is the time of enjoyment and unstoppable happiness that the people of Maharashtra enjoy. It signifies the wishes for prosperity among the people, to be fulfilled. 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 a very auspicious festival. In some places, there are competitions held regarding the same festival. This can be Rangoli competition or dance competitions too. Girls in colorful clothing are seen dancing in merriment to loud music and others 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 or moment on this day is very auspicious to the people who are celebrating this festival or observing the auspicious time. It is very important as it is the day from the 3 most important days within a Hindu calendar.
When it is Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra celebrated?
This year the festival of Gudi Padawa is celebrated on the April 6, 2019. 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 season change, so it would be different each year. 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.
How Gudi Padwa is celebrated
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 and happiness. The very first rituals is to wash the front floor of their homes. They then draw a colorful design and decorate 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 on 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 household shares it and eats it. 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’.
Prasad Preparation: 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 deserts on this special festival. Some of the most famous sweet dishes are fresh ‘jelebis’ and ‘Shirkhand’ also. People savor these sweets with friends, neighbours, and relatives and have a celebration.
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