We all know that Gudi Padwa signifies the Hindu New Year, but do we know the fascinating details involved in this extremely important time for Hindus? Here we have for you some in-depth information on the spring festival of Gudi Padwa and the rituals attached to it.
Chaitra Shuddha 1 which is March 22, 2023, according to the English calendar. The Marathi new year begins on this day. As this day is one of the four main muhurtas (astrological timing) of the year, new undertakings are initiated on this day.
Shri Ram Navratri and Chaitra Navratri also start on this day. Therefore, from Chaitra Navratri to Shri Ram Navami, Shri Ram Raksha Pathan is recited by many devout Hindus. From Chaitra Navratri to Chaitra Poornima, the women of the family must perform 14 or 21 Parayanas of Shri Durga Saptashati as a service to the kuladevata/kuladevi (clan god/goddess).
The ritual of Brahmadhvajarohana (erection of gudi) is performed on Chaitra Shuddha Pratipada day and this is known as the Gudi Padwa festival. On Gudi Padwa, Hindus in Goa, Maharashtra and other places acquire a strong bamboo stick before sunrise, apply oil to it and then bathe the bamboo stick in hot water.
Later turmeric leaves are applied to the bamboo stick. A bright-coloured cloth (yellow, green, orange or red) is then draped on its tapered end along with neem, mango leaves and a chafa/shevanti flower garland. Then tie these with some thread and cover them with an urn-like pot.
After this, the gudi is erected in front or near the entrance of the house, and it is tied firmly. A flat piece of wood should be kept under the gudi for the offering. Rangoli is drawn, and a toran of mango leaves is tied to the door. Then people pray to God saying, "O Brahmadhvaja, I offer my obeisance to you. Please bestow the fruits of all desires. May this new year come with good luck into my house.”
This prayer is a salutation to the gudi, which is a symbol of Lord Brahma, for constant prosperity in their homes on the occasion of the Hindu new year.
After this prayer, the Gudhi is erected outside the house. After the puja at home, Lord Ganesha is worshipped on the new Panchanga (Hindu calendar).
There is a symbolic relevance to the erection of the gudi before the house. The kalash (urn) on top symbolises success; neem denotes health; the garland is symbolic of auspiciousness; the bright cloth is luxury; bamboo is capability; coconut is about achievement; and turmeric and vermilion symbolise fortune in the Hindu tradition. All these things are clubbed together and put up before the house on the Hindu new year to show that all people should work and live to achieve these goals in life.
On this day, neem leaves should be mixed with flowers, asafoetida, cumin, pepper and jaggery, and the mixture is given to everyone in the house. Since neem is derived from amrita, it is antiseptic and healthy.
Gudi Padwa is the foundation of all auspicious deeds. New ventures and businesses start on this day. Transactions and important purchases, especially of gold, are conducted.
Religiously speaking, on this day Lord Ramachandra killed Ravana and came to Ayodhya with the victory of Dharma, and this day was the first day of the month of Chaitra, so Gudi Padwa is celebrated. On this day, the marriage of Shiva and Parvati was solemnised as well.
In Goa, this festival of Gudi Padwa is celebrated with great enthusiasm and religious fervour. Padwa becomes a special occasion for children as they get an opportunity to interact with and meet their family members.
Hindu joint families come together and celebrate this festival. The elders discuss and decide on religious or auspicious things that need to be done during the entire year. Delicious dishes like mangane (payasam), puran poli (sweet chapati), shrikhand, etc are served with other delicious food items.
This festival becomes an occasion to reconcile, unite and embrace goodness, and prepare for the unknown during the new year.