Gudi Padwa is an auspicious festival celebrated in India which marks the beginning of the Maharashtrian New Year. This day is considered pious because it is believed that on this particular day, Lord Brahma created the entire universe out of chaos. The festival is remarkable on the basis of seasonal change too, as this day announces the beginning of the spring season. The Hindu name for this day is Chaitra Shukla Pratipada and this festival is celebrated with great pomp and vigor in the state of Maharashtra. Not just in Maharashtra, it is celebrated in different states too with different names and there are a number of different activities which take place in all these states. A few main activities which take place on this occasion are as follows:
Gudi Padwa Traditional Activities
The Solar Bath
All family members take an early morning bath on this day and before they do that, they apply oil on their body. Then the skin is allowed to absorb the required quantity of oil, after which a bath is taken with warm water. Doing this relaxes the body as this bath rejuvenates the whole body. The remaining oil on the body after the bath helps the body to retain the elasticity of the skin and hence it is necessary to apply oil to the body prior to every bath.
Colored Designs on the Doorstep
People prepare rangolis on the doorsteps of their houses, which are beautiful designs made with dry colors. While decorating the doorsteps, mango leaves and red flowers are used as these are considered auspicious.
Soon after the decorations are complete, ceremonial prayers and offerings are made to Lord Brahma, which include davna (a fragrant plant). Later "Havan", a sacrifice in the pious fire, is conducted during which offerings are made to the fire. These offerings are made to Lord Vishnu who is worshipped in number of forms.
Unfurling the Gudi
The Gudi is considered to be Lord Brahma"s flag and it is hoisted to show Lord Rama"s victory over Ravana and his return to Ayodhya. As it is the symbol of victory and the symbol of victory is always held high, so is the Gudi. A yellow cloth is tied to the Gudi along with red flowers and mango leaves. An inverted silver or copper pot is adorned on the top of the bamboo stick.
After the Gudi is hoisted everyone religiously listens to the almanac, which charts the kind happenings during the year. Listening to this almanac is considered auspicious and it is believed to bestow upon the listener with merits equal to taking a dip in holiest of the holy river Ganges.
Tilling the Soil
On this propitious day, tilling the soil and donating the needy with money and other materialistic needs is considered really auspicious. People also visit and spend time with elders for their blessings.