Gudhi Padwa – The Marathi New Year
Gudhi Padwa is a festival celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy by Marathi and Konkani Hindus. It marks the start of the month of Chaitra as per the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which usually falls between March and April as per the Gregorian calendar.
Origins and Significance of Gudhi Padwa
The word ‘Gudhi’ means flag or banner, and ‘Padwa’ refers to the first day of the lunar fortnight. According to legend, Lord Brahma created the universe on this day, and it is believed that he hoisted a flag or ‘Gudhi’ to signify his victory over evil. Thus, the festival of Gudhi Padwa commemorates this victory of good over evil and marks the beginning of a new era of prosperity, happiness, and success.
Rituals and Traditions of Gudhi Padwa
On the day of Gudhi Padwa, people clean and decorate their houses with colourful rangolis and flowers. The main highlight of the festival is the hoisting of the Gudhi flag, which is made by tying a colourful silk scarf to a bamboo stick along with flowers, mango, and neem leaves. The Gudhi flag symbolizes Lord Brahma’s victory and is hoisted outside the house as a symbol of good luck and prosperity.
Another important ritual of Gudhi Padwa is the preparation of Saakhar gaathi, a sugar candy garland that is offered to the gods as a symbol of sweetness and happiness. Families also prepare special delicacies like Puran Poli, Shrikhand, and Aamras to share with their loved ones.
The festival is also celebrated with street processions, music, and dance performances. People dress up in traditional attire and participate in the festivities with great enthusiasm and joy.
Gudhi Padwa Celebrations Across India
While Gudhi Padwa is primarily celebrated in Maharashtra and Goa, the festival is also celebrated in other parts of India with different names and traditions. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the festival is known as Ugadi, while in Karnataka, it is called Yugadi. In Sindhi, the festival is known as Cheti Chand and is celebrated as the emergence day of Lord Jhulelal.
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