Mumbai: Gudhi Padwa is a spring-time festival that marks the traditional new year for Marathi Hindus. Gudhi Padwa or Ugadi is a popular festival celebrated in Maharashtra and the Konkan region. This year, Gudhi Padwa is being observed today along with Chaitra Navratri.
Gudhi Padwa celebrated in and near Maharashtra on the first day of the Chaitra month to mark the beginning of the New year according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar.
On the other hand, in Tamil Nadu, this festival is known as Puthandu, in Assam as Bihu, Naba Barsha in West Bengal, Pana Sankranti in Orissa and Vaisakhi in Punjab- which is celebrated about a month later.
The word Padwa comes from the Sanskrit word pratipada which refers to the first day of a lunar fortnight. The festival is observed with colourful floor decorations called rangoli, a special Gudhi flag, street processions, dancing and festive foods, traditional Maharashtrian dishes that are savoured during Gudhi Padwa. This Maharashtrian festival is complete without savouring puranpoli. This delicacy is a flatbread stuffed with the goodness of jaggery and chickpeas, cardamom, saffron and nutmeg.
Shrikhand makes for a Gudhi Padwa special dessert that is loaded with the flavours of fruits like mangoes, berries and melons along with adding dry fruits to make it rich and heavy.
Maharashtrian People love sabudana khichdi using peanuts, ghee and sabudana on this day. While some may like fried sabudana vada, which makes for a popular snack.
Traditionally, families prepare a special dish that mixes various flavours, particularly the bitter leaves of the neem tree and sweet jaggery.
On a festive day, courtyards in village houses will be swept clean and plastered with fresh cow-dung. Even in the city, people take the time out to do some spring cleaning. Women and children work on intricate rangoli designs on their doorsteps, the vibrant colours mirroring the burst of colour associated with spring.
It is also celebrated in the North-East state of Manipur as Sajibu Nongma Panba Cheiraoba and also in countries like Nepal, Burma, Cambodia and other nations where there are a lot of Hindus. People prepare a variety of food and cuisine on this day and later climb the hillocks in the evening.