Gudi Padwa

Gudi Padwa or Gudhi Padwa is the New Year festival observed by the Marathi and Konkani Hindus. It is also known as the Shalivahan. Shalivahan was the king from Paithan in Maharashtra. Gudi Padwa is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra (March-April) which in the Hindu calendar marks the start of new year. In 2014 the festival is held on the 31st of March.

Gudi Padwa cellebration
Gudi Padwa cellebration

According to the Bhrama Purana, which is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, Lord Brahma created the world in the time of Gudi Padwa. Everything happened after a deluge. It is believed that the festival represents symbol of love between husband and wife. That is why it is the tradition to invite the newlyweds to special meals.

Gudi
Gudi

No Gudi Padwa would be complete without sort of doll called Gudi. Every home has it during the festival. The Gudi is made of cloth. The cloth can be of various colours, but red, green or yellow are the most common. The Gudi is put on a bamboo stick. It is decorated with, sugar crystals (gathi), Mango leaves and lovely garland made of red flowers. Gudi has various meanings. Many people believe that it fight off evil spirit and make the household prosperous.

Gudi Padwa is a family festival. The home is thoroughly cleaned. Women and children draw a rangoli. All the family members wear their finest clothes.

It is tradition that each person has to start the Gudi Padwa by eating some leaves of the neem tree. Festive meals include various traditional dishes. Let's name just few of them - Shirikhand, Puris, Sprouted Chana, Puran Poli, Gulabjamun etc. The festival has one more meaning. It marks the end of harvesting season and the start of the new one.