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 Gudi Padva

Gudi Padva celebrates the start of the Hindu New Year and is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra. It is believed that this was the day the Lord Brahma created the Universe. Thus it is viewed as one of the most auspicious days on the Indian calendar.  

The Gudi: An upside down silver/ copper tumbler with a brightly colored cloth on a stick is called a "Gudi" This picture is from the 2007 Gudi Padwa festival @ my home.

Historically this festival was celebrated for Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's safe and victorious return from the battle in Maharashtra. Thus the banners of victory. Gudi means a "banner" which raised to announce victory. Culturally this festival denotes the arrival of spring. 

How to make a Gudi for Gudi Padwa?

That's me (Medini) and my daughter Nikita at my mom's home in Mumbai in 1994 making the gudi. I love the festivals that we celebrate because there is always special festival food that goes with it. 

Tie a  brightly colored cloth adorned with brocade (zari) to the tip of a long bamboo. Add strings of a sugary sweet - made only in India -called "Gathi", neem leaves, and a string of mango leaves along with a garland of red flowers. 

Then place a a silver or copper pot upside down over it. Hoist and place the Gudi in front of the house, on the right side. of your main door. The grounds on which the gudi is placed has to be leaned and a beautiful "Rangoli" on the floor in front of it maybe drawn. 

The word "padwa" or "padva" comes from the Sanskrit word "pradurbhu" which means the first day of the new year. "Padva" is another name for "Pratipada" which is the first day of a lunar month. The word ‘padwa’ is also associated with the Festival of Diwali, another New Year celebration that comes at the end of the harvesting season.

Gudi Padwa is a very Auspicious day! 

The Maharashtrian New Year's Day marks the beginning of spring or "Vasant". This is one of the 3 and a half days in the Indian Lunar calendar called "Sade-Teen Muhurat", whose every moment is considered auspicious in general to start a new activity. New ventures are begun, house-warming poojas are performed, and people also choose to buy gold, silver or property on this day.Gudi Padba Its a good day to start any business. 

Gudi Padwa is associated with new harvest & the coming of Spring

This vibrant spring festival following the festival of colors - Holi - is as festive if not more. It is a time for spring cleaning of homes - big and small - making them sparkle from top to bottom to mark a new beginning.....a beginning of SPRING and warmer days. 

With warmer temperatures around the corner and as the sun's rays get hotter from this day onwards, crops begin to be harvested. In Karnataka, the farmers light  seven, nine or eleven haystacks. The ashes are kept aside to mix into the soil after the harvesting is done. This brings good fortune. Fruits like mangoes, guavas and jackfruit begin to flood the local markets. Sunflowers bloom and the nature bursts into color again.

Hindu New Year is celebrated in different ways

New Year is celebrated in different states of India under various names

  • Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka
  • Gudi Padva in Maharashtra. 
  • The Sindhis celebrate it as Cheti chand
  • Bengalis celebrate the Poila Baishakh festival
  • is celebrated as Nau Roz in Kashmir
  • In the north the Assamese bring in the new year with the  Bihu festival
  • Puthandu  in Tamil Nadu
  • Vishu in Kerala
  • The Punjabis get light up camp fires with Baisakhi.
  • The Nepalese however bring in the new year in the third week of March
  • and in Bengal everyone wishes Naba Barsha or Happy New Year! 

Why the "Gudi"? 

 An upside down silver tumbler with a red or brightly colored cloth on a stick is called a "Gudi" The Gudi is a symbol of victory. 

 It is a day when the brave Marathas returned home triumphant from their expeditions of war lead by the great Maratha hero Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. A Gudi was displayed historically to mark this victory 

Nowadays, it symbolizes good luck. It and is erected near the entrance of almost every Maharashtrian house to ward off evil and to invite prosperity, good luck and happiness into the house. This ceremony is done "before sunrise" and the gudi puja is done as soon as the suns rises. Gudi Padba

The day of Gui Padwa is very very auspicious

Gudi Padwa is considered a very very auspicious day. New ventures are begun, house-warming poojas are performed, and people also choose to buy gold, silver or property on this day. Its a good day to start any business. 

How to celebrate Gudi Padva? 

People get up early and clean their houses, decorating them with intricate rangoli (colored rice flour designs for the floor) designs.  This worship to the "Gudi" is supposed to drive away evil from the house and are expected to usher in prosperity and good fortune. 

A brightly colored silk cloth is first tied to a wooden pole with a brass or silver goblet or kalash is placed upturned atop it. Then garlands of sweet sugary battasa, neem leaves and orange -yellow marigold flowers are tied to the pole. This is called the "Gudi". The "Gudi" or decorated pole is placed where it can be seen by passers by. 

Gudi Padwa Recipes 

This auspicious day also marks the beginning of the consumption of summer foods like melons, jack-fruit, mangoes , sprouted gram and more. A variety of sherbets such as Mango Panha and special sweets like  Puran Poli are served. 

In the southern states, Puliogare -a sour tamarind rice dish, Bobbatlu, Holige- sweet stuffed bread and Ugadi Pachadi made of jaggery, raw mango pieces, neem flowers and tamarind is prepared. In 

Maharastra, Shrikhand -a fragrant yogurt dessert, with Poori-a fried puffy bread is prepared.

Eating of Neem a tradition 

Traditionally Maharashtrians have a custom of eating a couple of bitter neem leaves fried in ghee and mixed with sugar. They are eaten on Gudi Padva to ensure good health. The neem paste is believed to purify the blood and build up immunity in the body against diseases. 

Also some people make a paste of crushed neem leaves, cumin seeds, jaggery and salt is eaten before eating any other food in the morning on Gudi Padwa.. 

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