When their cousins down south celebrate Ugadi, in Maharashtra they celebrate Gudi Padwa- the New Year. The festival of Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra celebrated on the first day of the month of Chaitra, according to the lunisolar calendar, marks not just the advent of a new year, but also the victory of the ancient Satvahana king Shalivahana over his enemies. The ruler's victory is commemorated by erecting the ‘Gudi’ - a symbol of victory, and performing ritualistic worship. As per the Brahma Puran, Lord Brahma created the universe on this day; therefore, this day carries special importance for the Hindus. Gudi Padwa festival is known as Sansar Padvo or Samsar Padwo amongst the Konkanis.
Significance of Gudi Padwa
The Gudi Padwa Festival holds great importance for the people of Maharashtra. It is believed that on the first day of Chaitra month, which heralds the Vasant Rithu, Lord Brahma, created the universe and Satyug began. It is also said that Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya on this day after vanquishing Ravana, and the people of Ayodhya celebrated this occasion.
Raising the Gudi
The Gudi is a bamboo pole, around which is tied a bright green or yellow piece of silk cloth. A metal kalash or pot, decorated with mango leaves and marigold flowers, is balanced atop the gudi. It is then hoisted and prominently displayed outside the house and offerings are made while worshipping it. The Gudi should be erected on a clean ground and should be slightly tilted at an angle.
Celebrations on Gudi Padwa
Colourful rangolis with intricate designs are drawn, reflecting the burst of color associated with spring, and prayers are offered to the Creator, Brahma. Traditionally, families in Maharashtra prepare Shrikhand and Poori on this day. Gudi Padwa counts as one of the four most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar, and is considered an excellent day for beginning a new venture of any kind. So if you are looking for building or entering a new house, or starting a business, Gudi Padwa is the day!