Today is Gudi Padwa, and it marks the beginning of the New Year in the Hindu calendar. It also marks the beginning of a new agricultural harvest season. It is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month, which is the first month in the lunar Hindu Calendar.
The word Pāḍavā (Padwa) is derived from the Sanskrit word Pratipada meaning the first day of a lunar month. A Guḍhī (Gudi) is raised on this occasion giving this festival its name.
The Gudhi (Gudi)
On this holiday, a gudi or gudhi is found sticking out the windows, terraces, and front doors of households in Maharashtra. A long bamboo is adorned with a bright green or yellow silky fabric which is tied to the tip of the bamboo and is further topped with gathi (sugar crystals), neem leaves, a twig of mango leaves, and a garland of red flowers. Finally, a silver or copper pot is placed upside down over the gudi.
History and Tradition
The practice of raising the gudi was started by Shivaji Maharaj to welcome the new year and symbolize victory “Vijay Dhwaj”. Since then, this tradition of raising gudis has been followed in and around the Maratha and Maharashtrian people.
According to the Brahma Puran (one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts), after a massive deluge destructed the world, Lord Brahma recreated it on this day.
Also, this day marks the start of the 9-day Chaitra Navaratri (a festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity Durga) which ends on Rama Navami, the birthday of Sri Rama.
During this day of celebration, households are swept clean. Some women and children make rangoli designs with colored powder at their doorsteps with bright colors and amazing patterns. People dress up in new and clean clothes and families gather.
Traditional families may begin the celebration by eating the leaves of a neem tree. A paste of neem leaves mixed with sweet jaggery and tamarind, believed to purify the blood and for good health, is usually prepared and savoured by family members.
Families in Maharashtra also like to cook shrikhand (a sweet yogurt dish) and puran poli (sweet flatbread), two celebratory dishes.
This holiday is also celebrated in other states including Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The festival is called Ugadi or Yugadi in both of these states. The Sindhi community celebrates Cheti Chand on this day.
In Andhra Pradesh, people prepare a special dish called bobbattu and in Karnataka, they make holige.
Happy Gudi Padwa!