Gudi Padwa which is the Marathi name for chaitra shukla pratipada is a Hindu festival which marks the beginning of the New Year. It is celebrated by Hindus in Maharashtra on the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra according to the Hindu calendar. This festival is also celebrated in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and is known as ugadi.
Gudi Padwa Legends
Many legends are associated with this day. It is believed that Lord Brahma created the universe on this. It is also the day when Lord Rama slayed the ape king Vali and one year later on that same day Rama returned to Ayodhya after 14 years in exile after killing the demon king Raavan. Many also believe that age of justice and truth called sathyayug began on this day. This day is also the day when sun positions itself in a point of intersection of equator and meridian and this position commences the beginning of the spring season.
How is Gudi Padwa Celebrated
On this day people set up Gudi on the right side of the main entrance of the house. Gudi, which is Brahma’s flag also called Brahmadhvaj is hoisted in every house as a symbolic representation of Rama’s victory after slaying Raavan and his returning to Ayodhya. Gudi also symbolises victory of the brave Marathas and their returning after successful wars. It is a common belief that Gudi brings prosperity and good luck to the house. Gudi comprises of a pole or a bamboo stick on top of which is a upturned silver or copper pot which is decorated with a yellow cloth, flowers and mango leaves.
On this day people take a customary oil bath in the morning following which the house entrance is decorated with mango leaves and flowers. People wear new clothes on this day a then the puja is performed and it is also considered auspicious to listen to Panchanga Shravana on this day. It is customary to begin this day by eating the bitter sweet leaves of neem tree which has medicinal effect. Also a Prasad made of neem leaf paste, tamarind, ajwain, pulses and jaggery is distributed on this day. Various delicacies are served on this day most important being the pooran poli, poori and srikhnad. It is considered an auspicious day to start new ventures and to buy gold ornaments and property.