We all know, and some of us have been chanting the line ‘India is a diverse country. It is a multilingual country and is home for almost all possible religions found in the whole wide world. It is a melting pot of various cultures and beliefs that form the beautiful country of India.’ Speaking of diverse religions, these have their own version and variation of festivals, including the new year festive. These new year days are based on different types of calendars – Lunar, Solar, and the Lunisolar. One such auspicious new year day celebrated by each and every Maharashtrian household is Gudi Padwa.
Gudi Padwa is the first day of the Chaitra month and therefore the first day of the year as per the lunisolar calendar of the Hindu’s.
India is a predominant agricultural economy and even culturally the Agro-industry has great importance in the country. Gudi Padwa is also associated with the harvest festival as it marks the end of one season and beginning of another.
Ceremonially it is believed that Lord Brahma created the Universe on this day. Therefore, this day is principally scared to the Hindu’s. In a traditional Hindu family, the day begins before sunrise with a bath and then the front door is decorated with a ‘Toran’ (a garland made of mango leaves and marigold flowers). Thereafter, the ritual of erecting a ‘Gudi’ is performed.
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The Gudi is a symbol of prosperity and a sign of all that is good. The Gudi is usually a copper vessel hoisted upside down on a stick decorated with a traditional red cloth and beads. It is hoisted in such a place in the house where there is enough sun light and is clearly visible from far away.
The women in the house also follow the tradition of decorating the front yard of the house with beautiful rangolies. They are pattern designs drawn on the ground using rice flour or limestone powder, turmeric, vermillion powder and other artificial colours. Now-a-days even flowers are used to make rangolies. These patterns are said to ward off evil and bring in good omen inside the house.
The name Gudi Padwa is more akin to the Maharashtrian sect of the society. The Sindhi’s call this day ‘Cheti Chand’ while in Karnataka it is called ‘Ugadi’.
The holy Prasad i.e. the sweet preparation made during this day is unique as it made from neem and jaggery. It symbolizes the bitter and sweet that comprises life.