Friday, April 8, 2016

Gudhi Padva Indian Spring Festival

Today is our Gudhi Padva festival, first day of Chaitra month of Hundi Calender and New year day in Maharashtra. This festival is also known as Ugadi in Andra Pradesh, Yugadi in Karnataka; Cheti Chand among Sindhi people.

There are few different religious significance of this day. But one I like the most is, it's believed that world is formed on this day. According to Brahma Purana, Lord Brahma created this world on this day. So religiously It's birthday of Earth and interestingly it's in the same month, when we celebrate Earth Day worldwide.

Indian Festivals are also associated with agricultural significance. This festival marks the end of one agricultural harvest and beginning of a new one. In this context, The Gudhi Padwa is celebrated at the end of Rabi season (winter crops in India).

On this day, the sun assumes a position above the point of intersection of the equator and the meridians. According to the Hindu calendar, this marks the commencement of the Vasanta ritu or the spring season.

Traditionally in Maharashtrian homes,  we erect this beautiful Gudhi in balcony or terrace, a high place symbolizing Brahma flag ( I would love to call it Earth Flag) and victory flag of lord Rama. Bright green or yellow cloth adorned with brocade (zari) tied to the tip of a long bamboo over which gaathi (sugar crystals), neem leaves and a twig of mango leaves and a garland of red flowers is tied. A silver or copper pot is placed in the inverted position over it. Altogether, it is called as Gudhi. We adorn our doors with mango and neem tree leaves.

The neem tree symbolizes 'health', as the medicinal properties of neem are well known in India since ancient times. We also have a ritual of this festival to consume bitter neem leaves or juice along with coriander seeds and jaggery to make a healthy start of a year. Neem is believed to purify blood and develop immune system against diseases according to ancient Indian Ayurveda. Here I would like to related this festival to World Health Day, we just celebrated worldwide.

Last few years, some people are celebrating this festival innovatively by planting neem trees in India. I wish, I could do that too, but it's difficult in UAE, as watering a tree takes so much water which is precious in this land. I am celebrating this festival at home traditionally, to let my son know our traditional values as well as Eco significance involved in our traditional celebration!

Gudhipadvyachya Shubhecha! (Happy Gudhi Padva!)

    1 comment:

    Tarana Khan said...

    I associate this festival with a certain sweet dish, but I'm forgetting the name!