Today is Gudi Padwa- the day when people of Maharashtra celebrate thier New Year. Gudi Padwa is celebrated in Maharashtra on the first day of the month of Chaitra. The Konkani community refers to this day as Samwatsara. This year, Gudi Padwa is being celebrated on April 6.
What is a Gudi?
First, a wooden stick is covered with a piece of bright red or yellow coloured cloth. After this, a Kalash made of silver, copper or bronze is placed upside down on one end of the stick. A dash of vermillion (kumkum) and turmeric (haldi) are applied on the outer surface of the Kalash. This ensemble is called Gudi and it’s placed outside the door or the window so that everyone in the vicinity gets to see it.
A garland made of sugar candy (saakhar gaathi) and neem leaves are also hung with the Gudi. This ritual signifies the bitter sweet experiences of life.
How do Maharashtrians celebrate Gudi Padwa?
Days before the festival, people start cleaning their homes and courtyards to start preparations for the actual day. On the day of the festival, people decorate their doorsteps with Rangoli. Flowers are used for decorating the house and a toran made of mango leaves is hung across the top of the door.
People take bath and wear new clothes and dress up in traditional style. Women drape the Navari and the men wear Kurta teamed up with Dhoti or Pyjama. People offer their prayers to the Gudi after placing it on the window or door. They offer flowers, perform the aarti and put Akshat on the Gudi.
The family gets together to celebrate their New Year by consuming a preparation made of neem leaves, jaggery to symbolise the diverse aspects of life. Shrikhand and Puran Poli are also prepared on this day.
Spiritual significance of Gudi Padwa
On this day, Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya along with his consort Sita and brother Lakshama after defeating demon King Ravana in Lanka.