‘Gudi Padwa’ or ‘Chaitra Shukla Pratipada’ is a Maharashtrian festival, which comes in the spring season and is usually celebrated on the first day of the Indian month of Chaitra according to the lunar calendar. This day is being celebrated with different names in other states of India.
What is ‘Gudi’?
‘Gudi’ is a stick that is covered with cloth along with sugar precious stones, neem leaves, a twig of mango leaves, and a wreath of marigold or red blossoms. It is covered by a copper or silver pot in an inverted position. People place this ‘Gudi’ either at the entrance of the gate, balcony, or window of their houses.
Why do we celebrate ‘Gudi Padwa’?
There are several mythological stories associated with the celebration of ‘Gudi Padwa’:
As per ‘Brahma Purana’, on this day ‘Lord Brahma’ got the victory and created the universe’.
‘Lord Vishnu’ took the ‘Matsya’ incarnation i.e.form of fish on this day. This was an incarnation to save the entire world from destruction or ‘Pralaya’
‘Lord Ram’ is said to have killed ‘Ravan’ after fourteen long years of exile. On this day, worship of goddess ‘Durga’ begins for a period of nine nights and culminates with ‘Rama Navami’ celebrations.
Sakas won in battle against Huns. It is also regarded as the beginning of the ‘Shalivahan’ calendar. This calendar began soon after the Huns were vanquished by the Sakas.
This is the celebration of the victory march of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the veteran Maratha leader. The festival is celebrated in honour of this great king who had a kingdom that spread across the entire western part of India.
Even the rabi crops end for the season during this time. Hence, ‘Gudi Padwa’ is also considered a harvest festival.
How is it celebrated?
- Take an oil bath and eat neem leaves, then conduct all the necessary rituals.
- Women wear a nine-yard long saree a ‘Kashta’ or ‘Nauvari’. Men too wear their traditional outfits i.e. a Kurta and a Pyjama along with a turban.
- People clean their houses and make arrangements for a get-together.
- Rangoli designs are drawn in front of entrances and ‘Torans’ garlands of marigold are being tied on their house doors.
- People prepare special dishes like Shrikhand Poori, Puran Poli, and Kanagachi Kheer.
The Festival is celebrated by preparing a mixture of six elements. Each element symbolizes a unique emotion:
- Neem buds/flowers – Sadness
- Salt- Fear
- Green Chilly- Anger
- Unripened Mango – Surprise
- Tamarind – Disgust
- Jaggery – Happiness
- Gudi is observed at the gate entrances, balconies, and windows of the houses.
- In the Evening of Gudi Padwa, ‘Lezim’ (a traditional Maharashtrian folk dance) is being performed.
- ‘Gudi Padwa’ is much awaited and considered auspicious. People buy new clothes, vehicles, gold, etc.
How COVID-19 affected the celebration of ‘Gudi Padwa’?
People hoisted the traditional ‘Gudi’ in their balconies, windows, and at the gate entrance. But they were unable to buy much stuff such as garlands, mango leaves sugar precious stones, etc. as the shops and markets remained shut. Due to this reason, people were unable to put the ‘Torans’ at the entrances of their homes and also buying of sweets was being missed. People were unable to conduct social gatherings. The ‘Gudi Padwa’ processions were also cancelled.