India is a versatile country with different states, and they have its religion, language, and festival. Today, we celebrate the festival, which marks the beginning of the new year in India, but with different names.
In north India, Chaitra Navaratri, and in south India, GudiPadwa is acknowledged as the new year’s commencement as per the Hindu calendar. People fast for the nine days in Chaitra Navaratri, and on the last day, break the fast with worshipping goddess Durga, and celebrate Ram Navami, the birth of Lord Ram.
Like Vaisakhi marks the harvest festival in Punjab, GudiPadwa signifies the cultivation of rabi crop and the beginning of spring.
Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka celebrate GudiPadwa or Ugadi as the beginning of their new year. It is one of the four auspicious days in the Hindu calendar.
Like every festival has a story and reason behind it, GudiPadwa is celebrated in the belief that Lord Brahma created the world on this day. Also, we have seen a flag or Gudi hanging on the windows, terrace, or trees of Maharashtrian households, which symbolizes Chhatrapati Shivaji’s victory. It is also believed that Gudi brings good luck, prosperity and keeps the evils away from the house.
The flag hanged outside is made with a bamboo stick garlanded with flowers, mango & neem leaves, and an upturned silver or copper vessel adorned with yellow or green cloth.
The festival is observed with rangolis, dancing, street processions, tasty and lip-smacking Maharashtrian delicacies like shrikhand, poori, and PuranPoli. People decorate their houses and wear traditional and vibrant Marathi clothes to welcome the new year. The atmosphere in Maharashtra around this time become joyous, full of laughter and positivity.
During this time, a paste is made with neem leaves, jaggery, and tamarind and is eaten with the belief to remember the bitter-sweet experience of life. Along with it, various health benefits are associated with the paste, like purifying blood and strengthening the immune system to fight diseases.
We know that it is customary to visit friends and family during the festival, but we have to keep in mind that the pandemic is still not over.
The corona cases are increasing rapidly in Maharashtra; that’s why its governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has requested everyone to stay at home amidst the celebration.
It might not be as fun and enjoyable as every year, but we have to remember that being at home is for our safety and good health. So, instead of being disappointed, try to have fun by connecting with your friends and family on a video call.
Here is us wishing everyone a safe and happy GudiPadwa!