Chaitra Shukla Pratipada
Gudi Padwa is the Marathi name for ‘Chaitra Shukla Pratipada’. It is the first day of the New Year according to the Hindu calendar. Gudi Padwa or Ugadi is celebrated in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and is considered as one of the four most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar. Many consider this day ideal for the purchase of ornaments, a house amongst other things.
Significance of Gudi Padwa
Gudi Padwa is celebrated for a number of reasons. It is believed that Lord Brahma created the world on this day and is therefore worshipped. It is also believed that the ‘Gudi’ (flag) is a symbol of Lord Rama’s victory over Ravan and his subsequent re-in statement to his post in Ayodhya after completing 14 years of Exile.
The people of Maharashtra also see the gudi as a symbol of victory associated with the conquests of the Maratha forces led by Chhatrapati Shivaji. Gudhi is believed to ward off evil, invite prosperity and good luck into the house.
India predominantly being an agrarian society, celebrations and festivals are often linked to the turn of the season and to the sowing and reaping of cops. This day also marks the end of one agricultural harvest and the beginning of a new one.
Gudi Padwa Celebrations
On Gudi Padwa, a gudi is found hanging out of a window or prominently displayed in Maharashtrian households. Gudi is a bright green or yellow cloth adorned with brocade tied to the tip of a long bamboo over which sugar, neem leaves, a twig of mango leaves and a garland of red flowers is tied. A silver or copper pot is placed in the inverted position over it. This gudi is then hoisted outside the house, in a window, terrace or a high place so that everybody can see it.
On this festive day, courtyards in village houses will be swept clean and plastered with fresh cow-dung. Even in cities, people take time out to do some spring cleaning.
Women and children work on intricate rangoli designs on their doorsteps, the vibrant colours mirroring the burst of colour associated with spring. Everyone dresses up in new clothes and it is a time for family gatherings.
Traditionally, families are supposed to begin the festivities by eating the bittersweet leaves of the neem tree. Sometimes, a paste of neem leaves is prepared and mixed with jaggery, and tamarind. All the members of the family consume this paste, which is believed to purify the blood and strengthen the body’s immune system against diseases.
Maharashtrian families also make shrikhand and Poori on this day. Konkanis make Kanangachi Kheer, a variety of Kheer made of sweet potato, coconut milk, jaggery, rice flour, etc.
What is ‘Chaitra Shukla Pratipada’ ?
Find out about Ugadi and how it may be similar to Gudi Padwa.
Gudi Padwa marks the end of one agricultural harvest and the beginning of a new one. What kind of crops are harvested in the new season?
To know why do we celebrate Gudi Padwa, click here!
Gudi Padwa is one of the major festivals celebrated by the people of Maharashtra. It falls on the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra (somewhere around March-end or April-start) and is celebrated in the state as the New Year's Day. The day on which the festival takes place coincides with the first day of Hindu National Calendar (as adopted by the Government of India). Gudhi Padwa is also celebrated in some states of South India, though the name (Ugadi) by which it is known there is different.
The Brahma Purana
Even Sindhis celebrate a festival on the same day as Gudhi Padwa and it is known as Cheti Chand. The festival is believed to mark the commencement of the spring season in India, known as Vasant/Basant. In the Brahma Purana, it has been written that it was on this day only that Lord Brahma recreated the world, after the inundation that devastated it. Each and every moment of the day on which Gudi Padwa is celebrated is considered to be very auspicious. This is the reason why the festival is celebrated with such grand festivities.
The day of Gudi Padwa starts with the cleaning ritual, in which the house is fully cleaned (in case of villages, it is then covered with fresh cow-dung). Thereafter, women and children indulge in the drawing as well as coloring of intricate rangoli designs on the doorsteps. Usually, vibrant colors are chosen for the rangoli, in keeping with the spirit of the festival. Every member of the family wears new clothes and eats soonth panak and chana usal, the specialties of the day.
Other delicacies made on Gudhi Padwa festival include Shrikand and Poori. In the earlier days, family members used to start the day by eating the leaves of neem tree. However, the tradition is not as rigidly followed these days. Usually, people consume a paste of neem leaves (combined with ajwain, jaggery and tamarind). The leaves as well as the paste are believed to cleanse blood and toughen the immune system.
Gudi, meaning Brahma's flag (Brahmadhvaj), is hoisted by people on the day of Gudi Padwa, as a symbol of victory of good over evil. It is also believed to ward off evil influences and bring prosperity and good luck into the house. Gudi is made by tying a bright green or yellow cloth, adorned with brocade (zari), to a long bamboo. Over the cloth, gathi (a type of sweet), neem leaves, a twig of mango leaves and a garland of red flowers is tied.
Thereafter, a silver or copper pot is placed over it in inverted position. Then, the Gudi is hoisted on the window or on the gate. The floor before Gudi is adorned with rangoli, made of a special powder of soft, white stone. Lastly, it is worshipped, while offering obeisance to the flag of Lord Brahma. Whatever be the state in which the festival is celebrated and whatever be its name, its significance as well as the scale of festivities surrounding it remains the same.
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