Maharashtrians normally celebrate their new year on 23rd March, 2012. According to the Hindu calendar, Gudi Padwa or the Marathi New Year is celebrated on the Chaitra Shukla Pratipada or the first day of the full moon cycle of Chaitra. Marathis pray for a prosperous new year and offer puja to the gudi as it is believed to usher good luck. It is one of the major festivals of this region.
According to the popular belief, the universe was created on the auspicious day of Gudi Padwa by Lord Brahma and therefore is the most appropriate day for making a new start. It is also said to be the date when Lord Rama returned to the people of Ayodhya after freeing the world from the unscrupulous ways of Ravana. So, it is also the date to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.
The Gudi: Protector of the Good
The gudi or the flag plays a very crucial role during the celebration. It is also called the ‘Brahmadhwaj’ or the flag of Lord Brahma. It is believed to be the carrier of joy, happiness, prosperity and success and ward off evil to protect the household. That is why the ‘gudi’ is erected at a place where it can be seen by all.
The Marathis are very careful about decorating the ‘gudi’. A long bamboo pole is draped with bright colored clothes and then decorated with mango and neem leaves, gathi or sugar crystals, and garlands of red flowers. A kalash is then placed at the top of the pole.
During the three and a half days celebration of Gudi Padwa, the gudi is erected everyday at sunrise and removed before the sunset.
The Celebration of Gudi Padwa
The celebration of Gudi Padwa is a great opportunity for Marathis to showcase their traditions and cultures and they follow all the rituals very strictly. A special puja of neem leaves, tamarind, jaggery, ajwain and gram pulses is offered to the gudi and then eaten by the Marathis. This is said to purify the blood.
The day is considered to be very auspicious for buying new things for the household and loved ones. Marathis normally buy new clothes and utensils for the occasion. Buying silver and gold items is also a very popular tradition.
The event is marked with merriment, fun and abundance. People prepare for the celebration by cleansing their houses, and decorate them with mango leaves and rangolis. They then gather at temples to listen to ‘Panchangasravanam’ or the predictions made by the priests for the year.
Elaborate feats are organized and traditional dishes like puran poli, soonth pak, shrikhand, and jalebis are prepared and enjoyed with friends and family.
The Beginning of the Harvest Season
Gudi Padwa initiates the harvest season in the region. It also marks the onset of spring when the seasonal fruits of jackfruit and mango ripen and the air gets filled with their aroma. The word padwa is believed to have come from the Sanskrit word ‘Pradurbhu’, which means crop. People on this day pray to the deity for another year of good harvest, health, prosperity and peace for all.
Send Gudi Padwa cards to your friends and relatives –