The true flavour of India, lies in its diversity of customs, traditions, cuisines and the
never ending festivities that keep the celebratory spirit in full swing all-round the
year. So, just as we recover from the hangover of the ”Holi dhamal”, we have yet
another reason to revel in some home-made sweets, dress up in traditional attires,
decorate our homes and indulge in some festive merriment.
18 th of March, 2018 will be celebrated as the commencement of the traditional Hindu
New Year, with much zeal and fervour in the western, eastern and southern parts of
India. In Maharashtra, especially, this day is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm, as
Gudi Padwa, signifying the beginning of the traditional Marathi New Year as per the
lunisolar Hindu calendar. It also marks the end of the harvesting season of the rabi
crop and the transition to the next season.
This springtime festival has many significances and mythological anecdotes
attached to it. Apart from its connection to the agrarian calendar, this day also
derives its importance from few ancient beliefs. For some, it is the mythical day on
which Lord Brahma created time and universe and for others, it is believed to be the
day of the coronation ceremony of Lord Ram post his victorious return from the battle
with the evil king and the abductor of Queen Sita, Ravana. For some communities in
rural Maharashtra this day is linked to Lord Shiva’s revered dance.
Just like this auspicious day holds different meanings to different communities, so is
it fondly referred to with different names in different regions. Telugu Hindus celebrate
this festival as “Ugadi”, Konkani and Kannada Hindus celebrate the occasion as
“Yugadi”, while in north eastern state of Manipur it is celebrated as “Sajibu Nongma
Like any other Indian festival, no stone is left unturned to celebrate this day with the
usual festive grandeur. In urban households across Maharashtra, this auspicious day
starts with cleansing of the bodies and soul with a holy bath, using special oils and
aromatic soaps. In the villages, people may take a dip in the sacred river near the
village temple. Following this exercise of purifying the mind, body and soul, the
ladies of the house draw up their creative instincts and set themselves to the task of
decorating their homes with some elaborate and very appealing “rangoli”. The
colours of the rangoli, reflect the welcoming of the New Year, with hopes that the
year be filled with colours of love, peace, prosperity and happiness. Rangoli is also
believed to ward off evil and evoke positive energies in the house. The doorstep and
the interior of the house are also decorated with scented flowers to create an
atmosphere of sanctity and grace.
Who doesn’t enjoy playing “dress up”? Everyone does! Nobody lets go an
opportunity to get all decked up and click those stunning “selfies” with friends and
family. Keeping the age old tradition alive, on this auspicious occasion, women get
draped in their beautiful nine yard saree, while the men look all dapper in their
quintessential kurta pyajamas.
Now coming to the most important ritual of this occasion, hoisting of the “Gudi” or the
doll. This Gudi is created by assembling together, an inverted Kalash (in place of the
face of the doll), a bamboo stick, some mango and neem leaves and garlands to
adorn our Gudi. This catchy looking creation is positioned at the doorstep or near the
window, where it is visible to visitors and passers-by. It symbolizes prosperity and
the arrival of new and good things in life.
For all those foodies at heart, the extensive lip-smacking dishes that are made on
any festival are the very reason to celebrate that festival. Every festival has one
delicacy that is exclusively made as a part of its celebration. Gudi Padwa is no
different from other festivities even in this context. On this special day, people feast
on a unique preparation made from the bitter sweet combination of jaggery and
neem. This combination also holds a greater message, “Life comes in all flavours”.
This year, like every past year, Gudi Padwa will be celebrated with all these essential
elements. Hope you all have a wonderful Gudi Padwa. And may the coming months
bring to you success, health, wealth and lots of SWEET DROOL WORTHY
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