A New Year Dawns

Gudi Padwa festival is celebrated as the beginning of the Hindu New Year in the States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Manipur and Kashmir. The word Padwa is derived from the Sanskrit word Pratipada, referring to the first day of the bright phase of the moon.

Importantly, farmers in India, celebrate the onset of Basant Ritu (spring season) by this festival. Marking the end of one harvest, and the beginning of a new one, it is an auspicious day to begin sowing.

As per the legends of the Brahma Purana, it is the day when God Brahma recreated the world after it was destroyed by a catastrophic flood. To commemorate this renewal of life, devotees hoist a “Gudi” which symbolises the “Brahmadhvaj”, or ‘the flag of Brahma’. This festival also commemorates the hoisting of the Gudi after Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya. In Maharashtra, it also marks the victory of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj over his enemies.

To honour this timeless tradition, a Gudi is hoisted, outside homes on the right side. It is made of a bamboo, covered with a Kalash, a colourful piece of cloth with sugar crystals, neem leaves and a twig of mango leaves, and a flower garland. As part of the celebrations, a paste of neem and jaggery is also consumed. Besides Maharashtra, it is observed as Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana & Karnataka and as Cheti Chand by the Sindhi community, as Samvatsar Padvo among Konkanis. In Manipur it is celebrated as Sajibu Nongma Panba Cheiraoba. In Kashmir, the Kashmiri Sikh and Hindus celebrate this Festival as Navreh, the start of New Lunar Year.

In short, the festival of Gudi Padwa is a celebration of the beginning of a New World of Hope, Prosperity and Joy!

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