Festival again.

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Today is GUDHI  PADVA !

On the festive day, courtyards in village houses will be swept clean and plastered with fresh cow-dung. Even in the city, people take the time out to do some spring cleaning. Women and children work on intricate rangoli designs on their doorsteps, the vibrant colours mirroring the burst of colour associated with spring. Everyone dresses up in new clothes and it is a time for family gatherings.

Traditionally, families are supposed to begin the festivities by eating the bittersweet leaves of the neem tree. Sometimes, a paste of neem leaves is prepared and mixed with dhane, gul/gur (known as jaggery in English), and tamarind. All the members of the family consume this paste, which is believed to purify the blood and strengthen the body’s immune system against diseases.

Maharashtrian families also make shrikhand and Poori or Puran Poli on this day. Konkanis make Kanangachi Kheer, a variety of Kheer made of sweet potato, coconut milk, jaggery, rice flour, etc. and Sannas.

Significance

 Chronological

Being the first day of the first month of a year, Gudhi Padwa is the New Year’s Day for Marathi people.

 Agricultural

India is a predominantly agrarian society. Thus celebrations and festivals are often linked to the turn of the season and to the sowing and reaping of crops. This day marks the end of one agricultural harvest and the beginning of a new one. In this context, the Gudhi Padwa is celebrated at the end of the Rabi season.

 Astrological

Gudhi Padwa is one of the Saade-Teen Muhurta (translation from Marathi: 3 and a half auspicious days) in the Indian Lunar calendar. The full list is as follows.

 Historical

This day also commemorates the commencement of the Shalivahana calendar after he defeated hunas in battle.

 Religious

According to the Brahma Purana, this is the day on which Brahma created the world after the deluge and time began to tick from this day forth.

 Seasonal

On this day, the sun assumes a position above the point of intersection of the equator and the meridians. According to the Hindu calendar, this marks the commencement of the Vasanta ritu or the spring season.

On Gudhi Padwa, a gudhi is found sticking out of a window or otherwise prominently displayed in traditional Maharashtrian    households. Bright green or yellow cloth adorned with brocade (zari) tied to the tip of a long bamboo over which gaathi (sugar  crystals), neem leaves, a twig of mango leaves and a garland of red flowers is tied. A silver or copper pot is placed in the inverted position over it. Altogether, it is called as Gudhi. It is hoisted outside the house, in a window, terrace or a high place so that everybody can see it.

So here’s wishing all a very happy Gudhi padva!!

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