Gudi Padwa is the beginning of the year according to the traditional Hindu calendar. It is celebrated on the very first day of the month of Chaitra or April according to the Gregorian calendar to initiate the traditional Hindu lunar calendar.
According to the Brahma Purana, Lord Brahma, after the great deluge, created this world and one of the three and a half days or the sade teen muhurat; required for the same is considered to be significantly auspicious.
Gudhi Padva is the Sanskrit name for the Chaitra Shukla Pratipada and comes from the sanskrit word paḍḍava which signifies the first day of Shukla paksh or the bright phase of the moon which is called pratipada. In another view, Pad means a step towards perfection and Vaa, spiritually means increased growth.
Gudi Padwa is majorly celebrated all across Maharashtra as the Marathi New Year. The Sindhis celebrate is as Cheti Chand, in Karnataka it is celebrated as Yugadi, as Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh as Navreh or Navroj amongst the Kashmiri Pandits. It is also celebrated in Manipur as the Sajibu Nongma Panba Cheiraoba.
Gudi Padwa, as mentioned earlier is considered to be the day when the Lord Brahma created this world. It is also is the day when the Shaka calendar started, after Gautamiputra Satakarni defeated them in the battle at 78 AD. This day also heralds the start of spring.
On the auspicious occasion of the Gudi Padwa, a new kalash made of bronze, silver or copper is covered in red cloth or yellow or saffron cloth and is hoisted upside down in front of the house on a selected spot just at the entrance of the house. This is called a Gudi. It is planted on the right hand side of the house as that side signifies an active state of the soul. Let us take a look at the steps to raise a Gudi –
On the morning of this day people have the ritualistic holy bath and wear new clothes. According to traditions, the Maharashtrian women wear the nine yard long saree called the Kashta or the Nauvari, and the men dress in Kurta- Pajama. A colorful Rangoli is prepared with vermillion, turmeric and powdered rice. The Rangoli is said to ward off evil energy and brings in prosperity and good luck. Houses are decorated with garlands and flowers. Families eat the mixture called Bevu-Bella or a mixture of Neem and jaggery. The inter mixture of these two tastes signifies the ups and downs of life or the sweet and bitter sides of life. In Karnataka, a preparation called Obbattu or Holige is prepared specifically for this occasion with a filling of Gram and Jaggery stuffed into a roti.
Maharashtrian families on this auspicious and happy occasion prepare Shrikhand, pooran poli and pooris on this day as Prasad or offering to the God. The Konkanis make a preparation called Kanangachi Kheer, which is a type of kheer prepared by sweet potato, jaggery, coconut milk, rice powder etc.