Gudi Padwa

Gudhi Padva (Marathi: गुढी पाडवा Guḍhī Pāḍavā;) is the Sanskrit name for Chaitra Shukla Pratipada.It is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month to mark the beginning of the New year according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar. The word पाडवा(pāḍavā) or पाडवो(pāḍavo) comes from the Sanskrit word पड्ड्वा/पाड्ड्वो(pāḍḍavā/pāḍḍavo), which stands for the first day of the bright phase of the moon called प्रतिपदा (pratipadā) in Sanskrit.

The word Pāḍavā is derived from the Sanskrit word Pratipada for first day of a lunar month i.e. first day after new moon day (Amavasya). A Guḍhī is also hoisted on this occasion giving this festival its name. The term padva or padavo is also associated with Balipratipada the third day of Diwali which is another celebration that comes at the end of the harvesting season.

On Guḍhī Pāḍavā, a gudhi is found sticking out of a window or otherwise prominently displayed in traditional Maharashtrian households. 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. It is hoisted outside the house, in a window, terrace or a high place so that everybody can see it.

On the festive day, courtyards in village houses will be swept clean and plastered with fresh cow-dung. Even in the city, people take the time out to do some spring cleaning. Women and children work on intricate rangoli designs on their doorsteps, the vibrant colours mirroring the burst of colour associated 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(coriander seeds), gul/gur (known as jaggery in English), and tamarind. All the members of the family consume this paste, which is believed to purify the blood and strengthen the body’s immune system against diseases.

Maharashtrian families also make shrikhand and Poori or Puran Poli on this day. Konkanis make Kanangachi Kheer, a variety of Kheer made of sweet potato, coconut milk, jaggery, rice flour, etc. and Sanna.