Updated: March 17, 2018 2:37:55 pm
Gudi Padwa is a popular festival in Maharashtra and the Konkan area, and this tear it falls on March 18. According to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, this festival is considered as the new year and is celebrated with all the fanfare as any new year should. In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the festival is celebrated as Ugadi. In Tamil Nadu, the lunisolar festival is known as Puthandu, in Assam as Bihu, Naba Barsha in West Bengal, Pana Sankranti in Orissa and Vaisakhi in Punjab — albeit these other regional festivals are celebratd about a moth later. It is believed that the day marks the beginning of a cycle of 60 years or 60 Samvatsaras, and each year is identified by a unique name.
People celebrate this festival by decorating their homes with flowers and beautiful colourful rangoli as it signifies the onset of the harvest and spring season. They make ‘gudi‘, which is an erected flag with a red or yellow cloth, and hang it on on a raised platform. It symbolises an army’s victory and devotees worship the gudi, which is later covered with an inverted silver or copper vessel.
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The devotee takes a holy oil bath followed by puja and performing rituals. Along with that eating neem leaves on the occasion is one of the rituals that are apparently strictly followed. The day also marks the beginning of Chaitra Navratri, that lead up to Ram Navami, Lord Rama’s birthday to be celebrated on the ninth day.
The festival begins with the eating of a specific mixture called Bevu-Bella, which consists of neem and jaggery. This symbolises that life is a mixture of both good and bad, happiness and sorrow, and that we must accept both with equal openness.
In terms of the actual celebrations, much of it is linked to the change in season and to the sowing and reaping of crops. This day marks the end of one agricultural harvest and the beginning of a new one. In a way, Gudi Padwa is celebrated at the end of the Rabi season.
And where there is celebration, there must be food. Traditionally, the Maharashtrians make and eat Sakkar Bhaat (sweet rice), Shrikhand and Puri, and Puran Poli on this day. The Konkanis make Kanangachi Kheer, which is a sweet dish made of sweet potato, coconut milk, jaggery and rice.
Many of also believe the day is auspicious for ‘vaastu puja’, and for starting new business ventures. On this day, several processions are also taken out.
Here are the puja timings according to Drikpachang.com.
Pratipada Tithi begins at 6:41 pm on March 17, 2018.
Pratipada Tithi Ends at 6:31 pm on March 18, 2018.
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