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Significance of Gudi Padwa

Gudi Padwa is the new year of Maharashtrians. It is also the first day of Chaitra, the first month of the Hindu calendar, and the spring season commences on this day. Legend has it that Lord Brahma created the universe on this day.

The day begins with an extensive oil bath. After this, each door in the house is decorated with mango leaves and red flowers. Then prayers are offered to Lord Brahma.

The most important event on this day is the hosting of ‘gudhi’ – Lord Brahma’s flag (Brahmadhvaj). There are numerous legends associated with hoisting the flag. Some say it is hoisted to the celebrate Lord Ram’s return to Ayodhya after killing Ravana. Some Maharashtrians hoist it to commemorate the numerous victories achieved by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

People in Maharashtra erect a gudhi or bamboo staff with a green or yellow colored silk cloth. A bright garlanded goblet is hung on top of it. Neem leaves, mango leaves, garland of red flowers and gaohi (sweet) are hung on the gudhi. Rangolis are drawn near the gudhi or in front of the house.

Offering made out of neem leaves and jaggery is distributed on this day. The offering consists of neem leaves and flowers, soaked dal, cumin seeds, honey or jaggery and asafetida. The offering symbolically indicates that life is filled with joy and sorrow.
Farmers plough their field on this day and distribute food to laborers. It is also a day for starting new business and ventures. Several auspicious events take place on this day. It is believed that every moment on this day is auspicious.

Apart from this, Maharashtrian households prepare the delicious ‘puran poli’ and distribute it to neighbors, relatives and friends.

When Gudi Padwa is celebrated by Marathi people, the Kannada and Telugu speaking people celebrate Ugadi.