Gangaur is one of the important festivals in Rajasthan and is celebrated in the month of Chaitra (March – April). ‘Gan’ is Lord Shiva and ‘Gaur’ is Gauri or Goddess Parvati. In 2014, Gangaur Festival is on April 2. Legend has it that Goddess Parvati underwent severe austerities to get married to Lord Shiva. The Gangaur celebration symbolizes the marital happiness achieved by Goddess Parvati through intense determination and dedication.
During the Gangaur festival, married women in Rajasthan pray for a happy married life and for the long life and good health of their husbands. Unmarried women pray for good husbands. The festival also marks the onset of spring season.
Special wooden idols of Goddess Gauri and Lord Shiva are brought for the pujas. The festival begins in the first week of Chaitra month and ends on the fourth day of the bright half of the month. Women worship the idols for the entire fortnight and on the last day the idols are taken out in a colorful procession to be dipped in a nearby water body.
In some areas of Rajasthan, women make the idols of Goddess Gauri and Lord Shiva from clay. In some parts, women mix sand and ash from Holi fire and seeds of wheat and barley are sowed in it. They water it till it germinates. Women gather in groups during the festival and they apply ‘mehandi’ and sing and dance in the praise of Goddess Gauri and Lord Shiva.