What is Gudi Padwa? Gudi Padwa (March 25, 2020 Wed) is a spring festival celebrated to solemnize India’s cultural and traditional New Year. It is specifically observed in the Indian state of Maharashtra on the first day of the Chaitra month (March or April). It is also celebrated across India as Samvatsar Padvo, Yugadi, Ugadi, Cheti Chand or and Navreh in different regions. It signifies the onset of spring and harvest Rabi crops.
Stories or Legends of Gudi Padwa:
It is believed that on this day Lord Brahma, one of the principal Vedic deities, created the cosmic material universes, inferior to and distinct from the spiritual worlds. It is also celebrated to welcome the return and the coronation of Lord Rama from Lanka. In the interior parts or rural regions of Maharashtra, the festival is marked to honor Lord Shiva’s Tandava, the cosmic dance. The locals worship and carry the sacred Gudhi Kavads to a nearby temple of Lord Shiva and sing His glory.
Meaning of Padwa:
The word Padwa or Padava stems from the Sanskrit word ‘pratipad’ for the first day of the lunar month when the Moon appears after amāvāsya and the first day after purnima. It generally is celebrated with multihued floor decorations called rangoli. The central part of this festival is Gudhi (Gudi) installed on the right side of the houses on the outside. It contains a long wooden bamboo covered with an upturned copper pot called Kalasha and a yellow piece of cloth (green or saffron). It also includes the sugar crystals, neem leaves and a twig of mango leaves with a garland of flowers on the top.
Significance of Gudhi:
It shows the heroic conquest of King Shalivahana. To honor him, the people of his kingdom hoisted this Gudhi when he came back to Paithan.
The Brahma Purana regards it as Brahmadhvaj, the flag of Lord Brahma. Because of this day Lord Brahma, ordered by Lord Vishnu, had created the wonderful material universes.
On this day after winning the ghastliest battle against Ravana, the Lankan king who had abducted Rama’s wife Sita, Lord Rama posted Vibhishan (Rama’s younger brother) on the throne and returned to His capital city, Aayodhya. In all the cases above, the Gudhi contains an element of auspiciousness. It is believed to ward off evil, attract prosperity and fortune into the house.
Procedure of Making Gudhi at home:
- One needs to take a mid-sized bamboo stick.
- Next is wrapping the top of the stick with a green or yellow color cloth. Color may not be too bright or too dull.
- After this, take some mango and neem leaves and tie them around this cloth.
- One needs to take a flower garland along with sugar crystals to tie them around this cloth.
- Then one has to keep a silver or copper pot (upside down) at the top of that covered stick.
- Now the Gudi is ready, one can install this Gudi on the right side of the main door.
Once it is done, you may pray to Lord Brahma who created this universe and Lord Vishnu the maintainer of all this way:
O Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu! Kindly be merciful to us! We pray to the Principle of Creation and the Fire Principle emanating from your body. Let the Divine consciousness (chitta) present in these principles be protected eternally. Bless us so that we gain divine energy for our spiritual practice or sadhana.
What happens on this day?
- People in the villages spring-clean the courtyards, houses and plastering them with fresh cow-dung. People in the cities also engage in cleaning their house and decorating them the same.
- One of the attractions on this day is the colorful rangoli designs that women and young girls create on their doorsteps. The colors of those rangolis reflect the spirit of this spring.
- The most important ceremony on this day is Gudi Padwa Puja. The puja is associated with auspiciousness, prosperity, good fortune and good health for all.
- There are family and community gatherings wherein everyone dresses up in new traditional attire.
- Traditionally, you will find in most of the homes a special dish featuring a mix of flavors, mainly the bitter leaves of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) and sweet jiggery (gur, gul). Also other items as ingredients include sour tamarind and dhane seeds. Maharashtra’s families also prepare shrikhand and Poori or Puran Poli on this day.
All these delicacies represent our sweet and bitter life experiences. One should take whatever life presents and move on with renewed spirit.