India is a land of festivals. Of the 365 days in a year, 360 days have some or the other festival dedicated to it. From these, the Hindu New Year holds a lot of significance. The Hindu New Year is also known as Gudi Padwa which is popularly celebrated as a Maharashtrian New Year.
Ugadi, Navreh & Cheti Chand
Gudi Padwa is known by many names such as Samvatsar Padwa in Konkani region and among the Kerala Konkanis, Yugadi by Konkanis in Karnataka and Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and in Telangana. This day is celebrated as the Kashmiri New Year, Navreh by Kashmiri Pandits and Cheti Chand by the Sindhi population.
Gudi Padwa - first day of the new year
Gudi Padwa marks the beginning of the traditional Hindu New Year and it is the first day, i.e. first festival in the month of Chaitra as per the Hindu calendar. The traditional Marathi name for Gudi Padwa is Chaitra Shukla Pratipada.
How is it celebrated?
Gudi Padwa marks the descent of Spring and therefore, like all festivals in Spring, it is a very colorful one too. It is celebrated with great pomp and grandeur across Maharashtra and in the Konkan regions of Karnataka as well as Andhra Pradesh.
Rituals of Gudi Padwa
On the day of the New year, people wake up before sunrise to take an auspicious bath before which they apply oil onto their body. A mango-leaf toran is hung at the front door of the house adorned with red flowers. This very auspicious and favorable for good fortune.
Praying to Lord Brahma
Before the Gudi of Gudi Padwa is hoisted, people offer prayers to Lord Brahma. This is because he is the creator of the universe and he created our orderly world out of chaos.
Prayers to Lord
After prayers to Lord Brahma commence, the Gudi is hoisted and Lord Vishnu is propitiated, asking his favors and blessings for the betterment of the family.
Beginning of a new era
It is believed that Gudi Padwa has many religious as well as historical significance. As per Ramayana, it was on this day that Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravan and therefore, the whole Kingdom celebrated the beginning of a new era.
Counting Shivaji Maharaj's victory
As per historians, Gudi is hoisted to pay tribute to the number of victories won by Shivaji Maharaj. It is a symbol of victory. This is why the Gudi is adorned in a yellow cloth, mango leaves, and red flowers. Rangolis are drawn outside people’s homes.
1st day of Shalivahan Calendar
Another tale from history highlights that on this day the Shakas defeated the Huns. Therefore, Gudi Padwa marks the first day of the Shalivahan Calendar.