Gudi Padwa : Ugaadi Hindu Festivals
The Hindu New Year day is celebrated as a Gudi Padwa-in Maharashtra, Ugaadi-in Andhra Pradesh. This festival of Gudi Padwa is celebrated on the first day of the month of Chaitra, according to the lunisolar calendar,it not only marks just the advent of a new year, but the victory of the ancient Satvahana king Shalivahana over his enemies also. The ruler’s victory is commemorated by erecting the ‘Gudi’ – a symbol of victory, and performing ritualistic worship. As per the Brahma Puran, Lord Brahma created the universe on this day; therefore, this day carries special importance for the Hindus. The festival is known as Sansar Padvo or Samsar Padwo amongst the Konkanis.
It is also said that Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya on this day after vanquishing Ravana, and the people of Ayodhya celebrated this occasion.
Ugadi is the New Year’s Day for the people of Andhra Pradesh and also for the Telugu people all over the world. Those who live north of the Vindhya hills observe it as “Barhaspatyamana”. People living to the south of the
Vindhya hills observe it as “Sauramana” or “Chandramana”.
Promising days like Ugadi should be used for making resolutions to change our way of life and to purify our behavior by giving up all bad characters. Ugadi is a festival that teaches lessons in selfless service. It is not intended for feasting. It is a sacred day when whole some wisdom should dawn and enlightenment should blossom in the hearts of the people. Ugadi teaches man the lesson that he should perfect himself as an embodiment of divinity.
India is a principally agricultural society. Thus celebrations and festivals are usually linked to the turn of the season and to the sowing and reaping of crops. This day is marked as the end of one agricultural harvest season and the beginning of a new one. In this context, the Gudhi Padwa is celebrated at the end of the Rabi season.
Gudhi Padwa is one of the Sade-Teen Muhurtas (translation from Marathi: 3 and a half favorable dates) in the Indian planetary calendar. The full list is as follows
Vijayadashami – 10th Tithi of Ashwin
Balipratipada – 1st Tithi of Kartika (Bright Half)
Akshaya Tritiya 3rd Tithi of Vaishakha
On this festival day, courtyards in village houses are swept clean and plastered with fresh cow-dung. Even in the city, people use to take the time to spring cleaning. Women and children work on involved rangoli designs on their doorsteps, the vibrant colours mirroring the burst of colour connected with spring. Everyone dresses up in new clothes and it is a time for family gatherings.
Traditionally, families are supposed to begin the festivities by eating the bittersweet leaves of the neem tree. Sometimes, a paste of neem leaves is prepared and mixed with dhane, gul/gur (known as jaggery in English), and tamarind. All the members of the family consume this paste, which is supposed to purify the blood and build up the body’s resistant system against diseases.
Maharashtrian families also make shrikhand and Poori on this day. Konkanis make Kanangachi Kheer, a variety of Kheer made of sweet potato, coconut milk, jaggery, rice flour, etc. and Sannas.