Most religions and communities have their own calendars that are based on certain principles attached to them. One such calendar is the Hindu calendar, which like the Gregorian calendar has twelve months. Like we celebrate the English New Year’s on the 1st of January, the change of calendar, the change of the Hindu calendar happens on the auspicious day of Gudi Padwa. Gudi Padwa is also known as Chaitra Shukla Pratipada. Understand the various significance of Gudi Padwa & how to take benefit of this auspicious day.
Gudi Padwa is primarily a Maharashtrian festival, but is popular as Ugadi in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Yugadi in Karnataka and Cheti Chand amongst the Sindhi community, Navreh amongst the Kashmiri Pandits, Samvatsar Padvo amongst the Konkani community in South and south-west India and Sajibu Nongma Panba Cheiraoba in Manipur. It is also referred to as Chaitra Shukla Pratipada.
• Padwa literally translates to ‘Pad’ i.e. tending towards perfection and ‘Wa’ which means increase in spiritual growth. As per the Brahma Purana the world was destroyed after the Pralaya (a massive deluge) and Gudi Padwa is the day when Lord Brahma recreated the world and time began again. Hence people celebrate by taking the holy bath, decorating the door with Toran and Rangolis and hoisting of the Dharma Dhwaj (Gudi). The Gudi is a sign of happiness, peace and prosperity.
• Astronomically, this new moon day is extra special. This is because the Sun is at the starting point in the first zodiac sign i.e. Aries and many civilizations since years have marked this day to be the beginning of the spring season. This surprisingly also includes the Persians who refer to this day as the Navroz.
• India is always associated with farm lands and farmers. These farming communities observe this day as the first day of Harvest. The logic behind this is that Gudi Padwa marks the end of the Rabi harvesting season and the onset of the Kharif Harvesting season.
• There is a point of intersection between the Meridians and the Equator and on this day the sun is known to assume a position above this point of intersection. This is a seasonal change which clearly marks the beginning of spring i.e. Vasanta Rutu.
Life is full of ups and downs. Festivals give us a chance to leave our sorrows behind and get together and celebrate with the ones we love. The people who celebrate Gudi Padwa in its truest sense also consume a Prasad that is a mix of neem leaves, jaggery and sometimes tamarind. This not only boosts immunity but is also symbolic of the different phases of life and how one should enjoy and celebrate them all.