Every Indian state has its own cultural festivals and celebrations. Gudi Padwa (March 25, 2020, Wed) festival is celebrated across India with different names, customs and rituals. People perform many Vedic rituals on this day.
It is one of the traditional festivals celebrated on day one of the lunar fortnights, marking the New Year in Maharashtra. It is also known as the Maharashtrian New Year.
The same festival in the southern parts of India is celebrated as the harvest festival welcoming that start of the spring season. Spring is when the weather prepares us for a change with the days turning warm and the nights slightly cold.
It is spelt as Gudi Padwa, Padva or Parva. Regionally, it is known as Gudhi Padava in Marathi, Ugadi in Telugu and Yugadi in Kannada.
What is ‘Gudi Padwa’? What does the term mean?
“Padva” or “Padwa” comes from the word paddava which means ‘first’ or ‘initial’. In terms of the Sanskrit calendar, it means the first day/.
Gudi Padwa festival is celebrated on the first day of Chaitra month (March-April). Most of the Indian or Vedic festivals based on ancient customs, traditions and faiths are celebrated to observe the welcome ceremony of March which is the most auspicious month of all associated with agriculture, nature and Sun.
The Maharashtrians or Marathi people engage in a lot of activities. After the family members take the morning bath, women of the house create a simple rangoli design at the threshold of your house.
Major activities include making Rangoli, installing Gudhi Flag cultural processions on the streets, delicious traditional food items, dance performances and Gudi Padwa gifts. However, the most important ritual on this day is Gudi Padwa Puja performed at home.
What Is Gudi?
In Gudi Padwa Puja at home, the most essential part is the worship of Gudi or Gudhi which is installed on the right side of one’s house. It is made from a long bamboo is covered with a copper pot called Kalasha kept upside down and yellow piece of cloth (or any colour).
Then there are the sugar crystals, neem leaves and a twig of mango leaves with a garland of flowers kept atop the bamboo under the Kalash.
Worship of Gudi, Gudi Padwa Rituals
Once the Gudi is ready, it is hoisted or installed on the right side of a house. It is associated with Sun and its enlightening energy in the form of heat and light. Various sacred things are offered to the Gudhi.
The Gudhi puja is performed by the eldest family member followed by the rest. On this day, Lord Rama is worshipped because He had returned to Ayodhya after defeating the Lankan king Ravana.
Items offered to the Gudhi include coconut, neem leaves and jaggery.
Apart from these, a homemade sweet Puran Poli is also offered. Puran Poli is a traditional food item in Maharastra.
The head of the family (the eldest member) prays for the wellbeing of his family, prosperity in their life and protection against evil eyes or negativity. After the puja, a mix of coconut (grated), neem leaves and jaggery is served as prasadam.
What is the essence or significance of Gudi Padwa?
On this festival, people worship and offer prayers to Lord Brahma who is believed to have created the cosmic universes on this day.
As mentioned earlier, Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after winning the epic battle against Ravana who had kidnapped his wife, Sita.
This festival also underlines the beginning of spring for the sun planet that goes above the Equator. In the Indian state of Maharashtra, people celebrate Gudi Padwa by honouring Shivaji Maharaja and his victory over his enemies.
Gudi Padwa Special Puja
Apart from Gudi Padwa home puja, one can also perform an elaborate Puja. It is performed to invite auspiciousness, prosperity, fortune and good health into the family.
This puja is done by a qualified Vedic expert or Brahmin. The ceremony includes various rituals such as Kalash Sthapana, Panchang Sthapana, Ganesh Pujan and Abhishek, Navgraha (nine planets) Pujan and 108 chants of each planetary mantra, Invocation of Gods and Goddesses, Ram Mantra Japa, Brahma Mantra, Homa, Aarti and Pushpaanjali (offering of flowers).