Soon after the festival of Shigmo, the Hindu community in Goa, excitedly waits to welcome the festival of ‘Gudi Padwa’. The festival of Gudi Padwa marks the first day of ‘Chaitra month’, the first month of Hindu New Year. It is one of the most popular festivals of Goa which is celebrated across the state with great fervor and devotion.
About Gudi Padwa
On this day you can find bamboo staff with saffron scarf and bronze goblet hung outside several houses in Goa. It is known as ‘gudi’. The word ‘gudi’ refers to ‘flag’ while ‘padwa’ is derived from Sanskrit word ‘pratipad’ which means first day of each fortnight in the lunar month. It means the first day on which the moon appears after the new moon day.
Sometimes people use yellow or saffron cloth to tie the gudi which is adorned with gold zari (brocade). Sugar, mango and neem leaves, alongwith garlands of flowers are used to decorate the gudi. The copper pot is placed in an inverted position at the end of the bamboo.
The traditional practice
Early in the morning, people apply oil on their body and take a bath. They wear new clothes and consume something which is bitter sweet and made from neem. Some drink water mixed with the bitter juice of neem leaves others make a paste. The paste is made using neem alongwith gram dal, neem, chilly, salt, etc. While some make neem paste alongwith coriander seeds, jaggery and tamarind. This is consumed immediately after bath.
People believe that to welcome happiness and start a new year one needs to eat something bitter. This practice also has medicinal benefits as neem is an important agent when it comes to strengthening ones immune system.
Following this a 'puja' of the 'gudi' is performed using incense sticks and ekarat (single lamp). The 'gudi' is then assembled together alongwith bamboo staff, the orange cloth and other flowers. It is believed that when the sun rays fall on the copper pot it brings good health and prosperity to the family.
You can find women engaged in designing colourful ‘rangoli’ at the entrance of the house or the near the area where the ‘tulsi’ is placed.
Various food items and dishes are prepared on this occasion.
An auspicious occasion
People consider 'gudi padwa' to be an auspicious occasion. Many enter into new ventures like marriage or business on this day.
Various deals related to property, construction of house are done on this day. People believe that it is the most auspicious day and will bring in good luck and prosperity to the household.