Hinduism offers many intriguing festivals each encompassing different combination of rituals, cultures, ceremonies, food, prayers, processions and many other aspects. But what is more interesting is that each of these festivals recognizes a solar or lunar event, commemorates a victory/event or person, celebrates family bonds and in every case teaches us to be thankful and reminds us the act of giving back to the universe we are a part of. One such festival is the ‘Gudhi Padva’
As per hindu calander there are three and a half auspicious golden muhurats. Gudhi padva, dassara, diwali padva and akshaya tritiya. Though, this does not mean any other muhurats aren’t auspicious. But it is a belief that if we start a new business ,shop, house, jewelery, vehicle or any item on these muhurats it will give emmence prosperity.
Gudhi padva falls on the Chaitra shuddha pratipada, the first day of the new year as per Hindu calendar. This being the 1st day of the new year Hindus welcome it by hoisting a Gudhi.
There are many stories behind the reasons for hoisting this Gudhi. Some believe on this day God Brahma started to create this universe (The process of ‘srushti‘) . Few sources indicate that Raja Vikramditya defeated the mighty Sakas - the invaders, on this day, starting the new timeline era of ‘shalivahan saka’ (hindu calander) to honor the great king shalivahan remarking his birth.
In short Padva is a festival of welcoming the new year.
This first day of the new year is welcomed by cleaning the entire house, the front yard and the backyard and adorning it by colourful ‘rangolis’ (decorations done by colourful powders as a welcome sign to guests and divinity). The main doors are also adorned by the traditional ‘Torans,’a decorative door hanging mainly hand-made, using marigold flowers and mango leaves. The Gudi (shown alongside) is then hoisted at one side of the main door. A gudhi is basically a stick with a piece of new silk cloth, a bunch of neem leaves and mango leaves, a mala of sweets,(which is of a particular shape and made of sugar only) and a garland of white flowers. All these are tied tightly and decoratively on a very long sturdy stick topped by an empty water jug secured upside down. This Gudhi is worshipped with the traditional aarti and is offered a ‘naivedyam’(an offerin to God) of some sweet. These traditions are mainly followed in Maharashtra. The celebration is similar in different states of India, though.
All the elements that adorn the Gudhi are symbolic(positivity and hopefulness). For example; the silk cloth symbolizes a pray to the almighty bless us with necessary clothes, neem leaves for good health. With the mango leaves we pray for prosperity, with the sweets we pray for sweet rich food throughout the year ahead. [SSK1]
The elements that adorn the Gudhi are symbolic, they indicate hope and positivity. For instance, with the silk cloth we seek to be blessed with good clothing, with the neem leaves we seek good health and with the mango leaves we seek a prosperous life. The string of sweets that adorn the Gudhi symbolises our prayer to the almighty to bless us with rich food throughout the year.
Another unique part of the festival and find very interesting is the tradition of ‘Chaitrangan’ (as in picture below) that we follow throughout the month of chaitra. During this month a typical type of a rangoli is drawn in the front yard, called as chaitra-angan (angan means the yard). These rangolis consists symbols of God Shiv and Goddess Parvati playing saripat (a board game) in a house , symbols of house, sun, moon, stars, a tulsi plant,lotus, parijat mogra (small white flowers), snakes, bow arrow, tortoise, Hindu swastika (not to be confused with Nazi Hakenkreuz), sacred ‘Om’, gopadma(cows feet) and shankha, chakra, gada, padma (weapons of God Vishnu) so on. There are many things we can draw in a rangoli depending how much time and space we have.
The purpose behind is to realize the presence of these different elements of our surroundings with which we co-existand celebrate them through a sense of thankfulness.
Author: Mukta Kulkarni Naik
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