Gudi Padwa

On Gudi Padwa,the start of Hindu new year,is a single day celebration in the state,Maharashtra of India.Padwa-is derived from Pratipada, the first day of a lunar month or the first day after new moon day (Amavasya).It is called 'Ugadi' in in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.According to the Marathi calendar,it is 'Chaitra Shukla Pratipada'.Thus, celebrations and festivals were often linked to the turn of the season and to the sowing and reaping of crops. This is also believed to be the begining of 'Satyayug' ie the era of truth and justice.

Lord Brahma created the universe on this day.This day marks the end of one harvest and the beginning of a new one, which for an agricultural community signifies the beginning of a New Year.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.

This is the first day of Marathi Calendar.According to the Brahma Purana, this is the day on which Brahma created the world after the deluge and time began move from this day forth. This is one of the 3 and a half days in the Indian Lunar calendar called "Sade-Teen Muhurta", whose every moment is considered auspicious in general to start a new venture.On Gudhipadwa, courtyards in village houses are swept clean and plastered with cow-dung.

On this auspicious and festive day,people start the spring-cleaning.Women and children work on intricate rangoli designs at their doorsteps with the vibrant colours mirroring the burst of colour associated with spring. A 'Toran' ie string with mango leaves is hung on the front door.In the cities, people do special cleaning and dress up in new clothes.The courtyards in village houses will be swept clean and plastered with fresh cow-dung. It is the time for family gatherings.

The men and women dress in a traditional way.The women like to wear nine yards sarees with ornaments.The men wear salwar khameej or dhotis made of rich clothes. 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 ajwain,gul/gur ( jaggery), and tamarind.All the members of the family consume this paste, which is believed to purify the blood and strengthen immunity. Special vegetarian food is prepared, with specially prepared sweet dishes like 'Shreekhand-Puri' etc. and the friends and relatives are invited for the meal to share the happiness of the new year.


Shrikhand - Puri

Shrikhand - Puri Recipe

Shrikhand

Ingredients -

* Curds - 1/2 kg.
* Sugar - 300 gms.
* Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp.
* Strands saffron - little quantity,
* Crushed Pista and almonds - 1/2 tbsp.

Procedure -

1* Tie curd in a muslin cloth for about 7 hours in the night,
2* Mix it with sugar in a bowl,
3* Allow the sugar to dissolve for about 30 mins,
4* Dissolve the saffron into 1 tbsp. milk and keep aside,
5* Beat well till sugar has fully dissolved into curd,
6* Pass through a big holed strong strainer, pressing with hand or spatula
7* Mix in cardamom powder and dissolved saffron and broken nuts
8* Top it with remaining crushed nuts,almonds and pistas,
9* Keep it in fridge for some time,
Now serve the Shrikhand to your guests.

Puri

Ingredients -

* Oil for deep frying,
* Chappati flour - 3 cups,
* Water at room temperature - 3 cup,
* Ghee for brushing the bread while rolling out the dough.
Procedure -

1* Take flour in a big pan and make a hole in the middle to add a water in it,
2* Rinse the mixture of flour -water form the centre to outwards, until the dough becomes rough mass,
3* Make the dough becomes elastic and silky smoot,
4* Cover with a wet cloth so that the dough does not dry out,
5* Make small balls of the dough and cover them with damp cloth,
6* Take a ball of dough and dip a corner of ball in oil or ghee,then roll into 4 to 5 inches round mass,
7* Repeat the same process to roll as many puris you want,
8* Put oil in a kadhai (round metal pot) and put oil to fill it half and heat the oil till red-hot.
9* Dip fry pooris in it so that it swell up like a ball and becomes golden brown,
Serve the hot puris to enjoy with Shrikhand.

Significance

Gudhi is a bright green or yellow cloth,flown from the tip of a long bamboo.The neem leaves,a twig of mango leaves,garland of sugar-discs and a garland of red flowers is tied around the cloth.A silver or copper pot is placed in the inverted position over it.This gudi is then hoisted outside the house, in a window, terrace or a high place so that everybody can see it.

* Gudhi represents the flag of Lord Brahma,called, Brahma-Dhwaj,which is mentioned in the Brahma Purana.

* Mythologically, the Gudhi symbolizes Lord Rama's victory over the demon king Ravana.As a symbol of victory,the people of Ayodhya hoisted Gudhis.It is believed that this festival is celebrated to commemorate the coronation of Rama post his return to Ayodhya after completing 14 years of exile.

* Maharashtrians respect the Gudhi as a symbol of victories by king Chhatrapati Shivaji. It also symbolizes the victory of King Shalivahana over Shakas and was hoisted by his people when he returned to Paithan.

* The Gudhi is positioned on the right side of the main entrance of the house. The right side symbolizes active state of the soul.It is strongly believed that the Gudhi wards off evil and invite prosperity and good fortune into the house. Various musical programmes are organised in the morning of this day to welcome the new year.Nowdays there are music and dance programmes organised on the day before to celebrate the new year eve in a big way similar to the programmes on the 31st December eve.