I am sure regardless of whichever part of the country you belong to; you must have heard about the Gudi Padwa festival. It is a festival celebrated in on the occasion of the New Year according to the Hindu calendar. It is celebrated on the first day of the Charitra Month this day marks the beginning of the New Year in the lunisolar calendar. This festival has different names in the different part of the country, Konkani Hindus call it Samasra Padvo, It’s called Ugadi In Karnataka, Sajibu Nongma Panba Cheiraoba in Manipur, Thapna In Rajasthan and Haryana, Cheti Chand celebrated by the Sindhi community, Navre Mubarak by Kashmiri Pandits, Samavastar Padvo In Parts Of Maharashtra. But the most popular name is Gude Padwa, Gudi, when translated, means a doll that is hoisted upon this day and Padva is a Sanskrit word meaning the day of New Moon. The name alone, explains the whole festival. This festival is being celebrated in India since the beginning of time. To ease your curious minds read on to find more about Gudi Padwa.
The Roots Of Gudi Padwa
This day is celebrated as the day of positive vibes, happiness, and new beginnings. It has historical strings attached back to the time when gods were amongst us. It celebrates the creation of the universe by Lord Brahma. He is said to have created the planet and gave it life on this day. Gudhi also celebrated the homecoming of Vishnu’s seventh avatar Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana and completing his exile of fourteen years. It also celebrated a victory of the King Shalivahana over the Saka tribe.
But it was only during the reign of the great Maratha King Chatrapati Shivaji who celebrated Gudi with great pomp and show after every victory that it became a household festival in Maharashtra.
One of the primary reasons to celebrate Gudi padwa is also due to agriculture. As India is majorly an agricultural society, this festival also celebrates the end of the Rabi crop season. The Crops are cut and cleared, and the new ones are sowed. This also marks the beginning of the new agriculture season. Farmers cut their crops on this day as they feel it’s extremely auspicious and will help them gain prosperity.
The Gudi Padwa Celebrations
The preparation of this festival starts weeks in advance. The cleaning of the house, re-painting, whitewash, etc. As this festival celebrates a new start, the house needs to be in perfect condition to welcome the New Year. This is the best time to do your spring cleaning bid farewell to your sweaters and mufflers. Take out your summer dresses to welcome the new year.
On the day the house is decorated with intricate floral Rangoli designs and flower garlands. Of course, the Gudi is placed high for everyone to see. Now, if you are wondering, what exactly is Gudi then don’t worry, we have got you covered.
A Gudi is a bright green or orange or yellow brocade cloth decorated with heavy embroidery or golden border. This cloth is then hoisted up on a gatthi or a long bamboo stick and is topped off with the auspicious silver or copper Kalash (water pot). You might also find a garland of flowers worn by the guddi. They are kept either outside the windows or on the entrance of the house for everyone to see.
Early in the morning, everyone takes a bath, Prasad is prepared. The families gather around and pray to the Lord to give them a very prosperous year ahead and protect their family from all harm. They visit each other’s homes wishing them Gudi Padwa.
Gudi Padwa Food
After the prayer, there is a massive Gudi Padwa feast served this is the favorite part of this festival. If you are by any chance, a foodie then gets ready as your mouth is going to water. Different parts of the country have their signature dish to celebrate this festival, but they are yummy never the less.
Traditionally, families began the eating by eating the bitter leaves of the Neem tree. As this will make the immune system stronger and get rid of all negative germs inside your body.
One of the most popular dishes in Maharashtra is Shrikhand that is sweet potato with pooran poli. Kairi panna is a drink made with raw mango and jaggery. Vegetable Bhakarwadi a crispy dish which is even healthy. Kothimbir wadi is steamed flour cakes seasoned with coriander leaves and sesame seeds you just can’t have one of these. Moongdal Til Wade this is fried heaven for those who love rich food. This Wade has a long aftertaste. And for dessert, you get to have the mouth melting Kheer which will have you reaching out for more than one bowl.
Even though Gudi padwa is celebrated in different parts of the country in various ways, If you want to witness it then visit Maharashtra. Where you can enjoy the essence of this age old festival.