Gudi Padwa or Gudhi Padva is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month to mark the beginning of the Marathi New year according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar (Marathi : गुढी पाडवा often mis-pronounced as guDi padwa because ढी sounds like डी while speaking). It is also know as Samvatsar Padvo.
The South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka observe this day as Ugadi the Sindhis celebrate it as Cheti chand, Bengal celebrates it as Nav Varsha, Baisakhi in Punjab and so on.
Padwa is Marathi for the Sanskrit word Pratipada, the first day of a lunar month or the Sanskrit word for crops Pradurbhu.
The Gudi is a bright green or yellow cloth adorned lined with brocade tied to the tip of a long bamboo over which sugar crystals, neem leaves, a twig of mango leaves and a garland of red flowers is tied. An inverted copper pot covers these. This is hoisted outside the house, in plain view.
Scholars differ over the significance of the staff. Some say Brahma created the universe on this day, to some it signifies the triumphal return of Lord Rama to Ayodha, the flag of Lord Indra or a symbol of Shivaji’s victory. The spring season starts from this day. Behind all the associated myths this is a festival of a predominantly agrarian society, marking the end and the beginning of a farming cycle.
Irrespective of the significance Gudhi is believed to ward off evil, invite prosperity and good luck to the household and for the young ones it is the savory Puran Polis, a holiday, pampering parents, visit to the park and such small happy things.
In 2011, Gudi Padva Festival will be held on 16th March in Maharastra, India.
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