The Chaitra month of the Indian calendar has the first day as a very auspicious day as this is the day when the Marathi New year commences. This is the day of Gudi Padwa when the Maharashtrians and many other Indians celebrate the festival with a lot of pomp and grandeur. The word Gudi Padwa comes from the Sanskrit word which means the first day of the brighter phase of the moon.

In the southern part of India, the first day of the brighter phase of the moon is called the Padhya. There are many Hindus of the Konkani community which refer it as a great occasion and they call it the ugadi. It is known as the Gudi Padwa in the state of Maharashtra, and as Yugadi in the rest of the Konkanis in the states of Karnataka, and as Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh. Amongst the Kashmiri Pundits the day is called the Navroz.  The Sindhi community call it the Cheti Chand.

Navroz

Cheti Chand Ugadi

Padwa is a word that is got from the first day of the Indian lunar month and it occurs in the first day after new moon which is called Amavasya. On this day, a Gudi is erected thus the festival gets its name. Padavo or padhwa is also connected with the third day of the festival of Diwali. This is the festival that is celebrated as the harvesting season.

Gudi Padwa

Gudi Padwa is thus the New Year’s Day for all the people living in Maharashtra and with the Indian society being an agrarian one, the festivals and celebrations are often connected with the seasonal harvesting, sowing of crops, reaping etc. The day is the one which is the time when the harvesting activities get over and there is a new season that begins for the crops. This is why the festival of Gudi Padwa starts and is usually celebrated in the end of the Rabi season.

Gudi Padwa is one of the auspicious days for the Sade Teen Muhurtas of Maharashtrians as per the Indian lunar calendar. So the list of Gudi Padwa amongst the Maharashtrians is the following:

Gudi Padwa is one the first tithi of Chaitra which is the brighter half.

Vijayadashami is the 10th tithi of Ashwin and the balipratipada on the first tithi of the month of Kartika which is the brighter half. Akshaya Tritiya is also a Padwa which is considered to be very auspicious.

Gudi Padwa celebrations Gudi Padwa celebrations

Gudi Padwa is also the day when the shalivahana calendar commences when he defeated the hunas in battle. It is believed that this is the day when Lord Brahma created the world when there was a deluge and it is said that the time started to be calculated from this day.

This is the day when the sun has a position above the point where the meridians and the equator meet. As per the Hindu calendar this s the day when the spring season or the Vasant Ritu starts.

On the day of Gudi Padwa there is a gudi that is found hung on the windows of every household and is normally displayed in a true Maharashtrian style. The Gudi is a bright yellow or a green cloth which is decorated with a lot of brocade or zari which is tied on the top of a long bamboo where you have gathi or sugar crystals, a mango twig and neem leaves. There is a red flowered garland that is tied around it. There is a copper pot that is inverted on it, and this gudi is hoisted outside every house or on a terrace or a window so everybody can see the beauty.

Gudi Padwa celebrations

Actually the Gudi is said to symbolize the flag of Lord Brahma which finds mention in the Brahma Purana. It also represents the flag of Lord Indra. Mythologically the Gudi is said to signify the victory that Lord Rama has over Ravan and symbolizes that victory is held high. The Gudi for the Maharashtrians is also said to signify the victory that Chhatrapati Shivaji had. The Gudi believed to protect us against the evil is a much revered element of the Gudi Padwa celebrations. As it is positioned on the right side of the house, it signifies how the right side is used to represent the active state of the soul.

On the day of the festival all the courtyards in the village house are all cleaned and cow dung is plastered on the walls. People decorate the houses with a lot of rangoli designs and everyone dresses up in the best of colours in new clothes. The families are said to eat the bittersweet neem leaves on this day. A paste of neem leaves, jaggery and tamarind is also used and this is supposed to purify the blood and also protect the immune system against these kinds of diseases which affect the body.

Gudi Padwa celebrations

Traditionally Maharashtrian families make puri shrikand and konkanis make a sweet dish called Kanangachi Kheer which is a type of Kheer that is made out of jaggery, rice, coconut milk and sweet potato alongwith sannas and flour.

Gudi Padwa festival meal

It is to see how the people gather in large numbers in the city, and participate in the procession that is taken out in many places in Maharashtra on the day of Gudi Padwa and how the festival seeps into the society. The fact that festivals are a mainstay in the Indian culture is what makes such occasions very important and welcomed.