Gudi Padwa is the New year’s day for Maharastrians and Hindu Kokanis in India. It is celebrated on the last day of the Chaitra month, which tends to fall between March-April, according to the Hindu Calender. Gudi Padwa is also known as Samvatsar Padvo.
In Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Gudi Padwa is celebrated as Ugadi/Yugai, while in Tamil Nadu it is celebrated as Puthandu. Moreover, in Assam it is celebrated as Bihu, and Vaisakhi in Punjab.
Legend has it that on this day, Brahma created the world after the deluge, for which reason Gudi Padwa is celebrated.
On this day, houses are spring cleaned and in villages, house are plastered with cakes of cow-dung. Children and adults create colorful rangoli patterns on their doorsteps-the bright colors of Rangoli reflecting the vibrance of nature that comes alive with spring. Families get together to eat and celebrate this joyous occasion.
Traditionally, people eat neem leaves. Neem can get rather bitter, so oftentimes a paste is prepared in which neem leaves are grinded together with jaggery, dhane and tamarind. People believe this paste to be a blood purify that also strengthens the immune system. Shrikhand, which is a sweet yogurt based desert, is also made for families to consume along with poori, kheer, etc.
In traditional Maharastrian households, one might find a gudi placed somewhere outside the house. A bamboo stick is covered with green or yellow cloth. The stick is further endowed with neem leaves, mango leaves, flowers and a silver or copper pot is inverted over the stick. This embellished bamboo stick is what is called a Gudi.
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