After Holi, India is wrapped in a celebratory mode, yet again. While many of us celebrate Chaitra Navratri, Ugadi, Baisakhi, and Ramadan, the regions of Maharashtra and Goa will welcome a brand new year called Gudi Padwa, on 2nd April 2022, a festival also known as Samvastar Padyo.
This festival marks the onset of the New Year for Marathi and Konkani Hindus and is celebrated with much enthusiasm throughout Maharashtra and the neighboring regions. The festival essentially marks the first day of the New Year according to the unipolar calendar.
It is named after two words with ‘Gudi’ meaning the emblem or flag of Lord Brahma and ‘Padwa’ signifying the first day of the moon.
People celebrate the occasion with the customary oil bath, which is practiced as the day begins, following which they decorate their homes with rangolis and wear new clothes before doing a puja.
On the day of Gudi Padwa, people set the Gudi dhvaja or flags outside their homes. The flag consists of a bright and colorful silk scarf-like cloth tied atop a long bamboo stick that’s garlanded with flowers, mangoes, neem leaves, and sugar candies. It’s then capped with a silver, copper, or bronze pot (kalash).
The Gudi Padwa flag is a symbol of victory over bad times. The neem leaves signify bitter moments and the sugar candies symbolize happy moments.
People in Maharashtra and Goa hoist the Gudi Padwa flag on the terrace of their homes and make sweet and savory food items to celebrate the auspicious festival. They also take out street processions and dance in the festive revelry.
Gudi Padwa festival is associated with Hindu mythology. As per some Hindu legends, Lord Brahma had created the universe on this day. It is believed that Lord Brahma introduced days, weeks, months, and years on this day. Hence, it is a rare occasion when Lord Brahma is worshiped.
Other legends suggest that Gudi Padwa marks the coronation ceremony of Lord Ram after he returned to Ayodhya along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman, after 14 years of exile. The festival celebrates his victory over Ravana.
The Gudi Padwa festival is of tremendous importance in Maharashtra and Rabi crops are harvested after the celebration, signifying the arrival of the spring season.
Some other auspicious events, like housewarming or the opening of new enterprises, etc, are also solemnized on this day to bring in good luck and prosperity.
Just like the Gudi Padwa, the people of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka celebrate the Ugadi festival on the same day to celebrate the first day of the creation of the universe by Lord Brahma.
Ugadi is formed by combining two Sanskrit words – ‘Yug’ and ‘Adi’ – which means new beginnings.
The rest of India celebrates this day as Chaitra Shukla Pratipada, the beginning of the traditional Hindu year. The festival commemorates the first day of the Chaitra month of the Hindu calendar. Then follows the nine days celebration of Chaitra Navratri, devoted to worshiping the nine avatars of Maa Durga.