Gudi Padwa marks the onset of New year in Maharashtra and the start of spring season. It is celebrated on the first day of Chaitra month (Chaitra Navratra). Gudi Padwa is celebrated in other parts of India as well but with different names for eg. in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh it is celebrated as Ugadi, In Kashmir as Nau roz, In Punjab as Baisakhi, in Bengal as Naba Barsha, in Assam as Bihu, in Kerala as Vishu, in Tamil Nadu as Putuhandu and Sindhi community celebrate it as Cheti Chand. It is considered as most auspicious day of the year.
HISTORY OF GUDI PADWA
It is believed that Lord Brahma started the universe on this day and Satyug began hence it marks the commencement of new year as well.
Other mythological story related to Gudi Padwa is that on this day Lord Rama killed Bali and his Brother Sungriv became king of ape kingdom Kishkinda. It is also believed that same day after one year Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after fourteen year long Vanvasa.
Gudi Padwa is also celebration of Vetran leader Shiva ji Maharaja’s Victory. It signifies honor of Shiva ji who was great Maratha ruler of western region of India.
HOW IS GUDI PADWA CELEBRATED:
‘Gudi’ is a bamboo stick which is covered by a bright yellow silk cloth and on which an copper pot is kept in inverted manner. On copper pot Swastik is made with bright red color. This gudi is decorated with garlands of ‘gaathi’ or sugar crystals, mango, neem leaves and red flowers that represent victory and prosperity. This Gudi is hoisted outside every window of maharastrian household. it marks the beginning of good times for the family.
Preparations for the Gudi Padwa starts with the cleaning of houses. The doorsteps are adorned with the colorful hand made rangolis by the lady of house. The lintel of the door is decorated with mango leaves and red flowers as it is considered auspicious. Every Family member woke up early in the morning and dresses in their new and traditional clothes.On propitious Muhurat Gudi is Installed outside the house in presence of all the family members. There after a small pooja is performed by praying to Gudi. People also worship Lord Brahma for peace and prosperity in their household.
Pooja is followed by Gudi Padwa feast. Lots of delicious items are prepared but Poorn poli are Srikhands are made in almost all houses. Traditionally families used to prepare a paste of Neem, jaggery and tamarind. Every member of the family consumed it, which is believed to purify blood and strengthen immune system.
In the evening all the relatives and friends visit each other houses to celebrate the day together. Many families also visit temples on Gudi Padwa. Many people consider is auspicious day to make big purchases like Gold, car or property. Other events like house warming (Grahya pravesh), inauguration of shop etc., installation of new project are also conducted on the day of Gudi Padwa.
Now a days we can see big processions and rally on various part on city organised by local cultural bodies and political parties.One must make a point to visit Mumbai or Pune on Gudi Padwa to witness cultural heritage of Marathas as peolpe of all age group can be seen in these rallies decked in warrior dresses, Puneri Pagdi, Holkar Pagdi (head gear), sari of 9 yards, swords, simple saffron headgears etc.
This year Maharastra celebrated Gudi Padwa on march 31st. Streets of Mumbai saw much glory and merriment with fan fare and enthusiasm. Various ‘Shobhayatra’ and ‘Prabhat feri’ are organised in areas like Thane, Dombivali, Girgaon (Girgaum), Juhu, Lalbaug and many more. Most Fasicinating was ‘Girgaon Gudi Padwa Women Biker Rally‘. A treat to eyes, this rally was fusion of tradition and modernization. Various women dressed in traditional attire are seen driving bikes in this rally.