Gudi Padwa is a joyous spring time festival that celebrates the traditional new year in Maharashtra. The festival of Gudi Padwa is also celebrated as ‘Ugadi’ in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and ‘Cheti Chand’ by Sindhi Community. The festival falls on the first day of Chaitra under Shukla Pratipada. ‘Padwa’ comes from the word Sanskrit word ‘Pratipada’ meaning the first day of the appearance of Moon after the ‘Amavasya’. ‘Gudi’ is a flag or ‘Brahmadhwaj’, the flag of Lord Brahma. Gudi Padwa also marks the first day of the Chaitra Navratri which concludes on the nineth day as Ram Navami.
As per Hindu mythology, it is believed that on this day Lord Brahma created the universe. Gudi Padwa also celebrates the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after his exile of 14 years and upon his victory over Ravana. Devotees hoist Gudi to mark the victory.
The festival is widely celebrated in Maharashtra. The Gudi is hoisted outside each household through a window or on terrace. The ‘Gudi’ is made up of a bright colourful silk cloth tied at the top of a long bamboo. It is adorned with flowers, mango and neem leaves. It is capped with an upside down silver, bronze or copper pot (handi or kalash) and is hoisted signifying the victory of Lord Ram. It is also believed Gudi ward off evil, invite prosperity and good luck into the homes.
The homes are decorated with intricate colourful rangoli on doorsteps and with a ‘Toran’ of mango leaves on the main door. Traditional rituals of Gudi puja is carried out. Men wear Kurta Pajama and a turban, while women dress in traditional Nauvari saree. It is time for joyful family gatherings with everyone dressing up in new clothes. It is customary to chew neem leaves first thing in the morning. Families prepare a traditional dishes that mixes the bitter neem leaves and sweet jaggery, basundi and pooranpoli etc.
Farmers celebrate the end of the Rabi crop season and the beginning of harvest season. On the festive day, courtyards in village houses will be swept clean and plastered with fresh cow-dung. Gudi Padwa signifies the arrival of spring and to the reaping of Rabi crops to the agricultural community.
Gudi Padwa reminds us about our eternal existence and that life is about taking the bitter with sweet. To celebrate the indomitable spirit to overcome all odds in our lives!