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The first Holy festival which marks the beginning of the New Year, new month and new day for the Hindus falls on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada. It is known as Gudhi Padwa (in Maharashtra), Ugadi (in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh). [In other parts of country it is celebrated during Nau Roz (Kashmir), Baisakhi (Punjab), Cheti Chand (Sindhi), Naba Barsha (Bengal), Goru Bihu (Assam), Puthandu (Tamil Nadu), Vishu (Kerala)] On this very day Lord Brahma created the Universe. Therefore for Hindus, this day carries special importance. The day is celebrated with an auspicious bath, followed by decorating the doorway with a ‘toran’, performing ritualistic worship and hoisting the Gudhi.

Gudhi Padwa is celebrated as Ugadi (or Yugadi) in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The day, begins with ritual showers (oil bath) followed by pooja to god and Panchanga Shravana.Houses are decorated with Mango Leaves and Rangoli and everyone in the family wear new clothes and celebrate the festival by wishing each other New year greetings.

The eating of a specific mixture called Bevu-Bella (Neem and Jaggery) in Kannada, symbolizes the fact that life is a mixture of good and bad, Happiness and Sorrow. Eating bitter Neem and Sweet Jaggery means one need to take both Good and Bad or Happiness and Sorrow should be accepted together and with equanimity through the New Year. The special mixture consists of:

1. Neem Buds/Flowers for its bitterness, signifying Sadness
2. Jaggery which is sweet, signifying Happiness

In Karnataka a special dish called Obbattu or Holige (Puran Poli), is prepared on this occasion. It consists of a filling (gram and jaggery/sugar boiled and made in to a paste) stuffed in a flat roti like bread. It is usually eaten hot/cold with ghee or milk topping or coconut milk at some places of Karnataka.

Gudhipadwa is a Yugadi tithi (A lunar day that marks the beginning of an Era). Since Deity Brahma created the universe on this day, scriptures describe gudhi as the Brahmadhwaj (Flag of Deity Brahma). Prajapati waves are present in maximum proportion on this day, and by ritualistically worshipping a gudhi on this day the worshipper gets maximum benefit of these waves.

Since gudhi is also a symbol of Bhagwan Shriram’s victory, it is also known as Vijayadhwaj (Flag of victory). Therefore, ritualistic worship of gudhi is not only the worship of Brahmatej (Radiance of Brahman), but is also the worship of Kshatratej (Radiance of Kshatriya).

According to the tenet that man should perform spiritual practice and abide by Dharma (Righteousness) as per the times, it is essential for Hindus to worship the Brahman and Kshatra forms of the gudhi.

Besides victory, the gudhi also symbolises joy. Shriram returned to Ayodhya after slaying demon Ravan. This marked the beginning of Ramrajya. Gudhis were erected in Ayodhya then as symbols of joy.

The Gudi is a symbol of victory. Amongst the various qualities of God, ‘Being Victorious’ is one and it symbolizes that God has achieved victory at the outset and at various levels. To symbolize this at every level of war, a Gudi is hoisted.

Indian society is largely dependendent on agriculture and e celebrations and festivals are often linked with changing seasons and to the sowing and reaping of crops. The word ‘padwa’ is a Sanskrit word for crop, which literally means ‘Pradurbhu.’ This day also marks the end of one harvest and the beginning of a new one, which for an agricultural community would signify the beginning of a New Year. Gudi Padwa is celebrated at the end of the Rabi season.

On this auspicious day of Hindu New Year I wish all my readers good health, great work, contented life, prosperity, Knowledge, freedom of thoughts & action and most importantly peace of mind. 🙂

“Gudi Padvyachya Hardik Shubhecha…”

~ Aratidgr8 ~

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