Gudi Padwa-New Year Day

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Gudi Padwa -- New Year Day
Importance - The Beginning Of The Hindu Calendar.
The New Year day of the Maharashtrians, Gudi Padwa heralds the advent of a prosperous new year and is considered as one of the most auspicious days by Hindus. The Hindu year begins on the first day, "shuddha pratipada", of the month of Chaitra (March-April). It is one of the 'Muhurat' amongst the three and a half Muhurats that occur in Hindu calendar year. The day is considered auspicious for building or entering a new house, putting a child to school, or starting a business. With this day begins the new season, the spring.
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It is believed that on 'Gudi Padva' :
-The Universe was created by Brahma.

-Satyuga (The Age of Truth and Justice) began.

-King Vali was killed by Rama.Shri Rama returned to Ayodhya victorious.

-This is one of the 3 and a half days in the Hindu Lunar calendar, whose every moment is considered auspicious.
It is a day of great festivity and rejoicing. People get up early and clean their houses, decorating them with intricate rangoli designs. New clothes are worn, and sweets made for the occasion include shrikhand, basundi, etc. Many homes also decorate the pots with coconuts, flowers and mango leaves, symbolizing nature's bounty to all.

On this day a pole named Gudi is erected in front of the house. Padwa is another name for "Pratipada", the first day of the lunar month. A new cloth is tied on the Gudi, a metal or silver vessel is put on to it and a garland of sweets is hung on it. People welcome the New Year with Gudi worship and distribute Prasad comprising of tender Neem leaves, tamarind, Ajwain, gram-pulse and jaggery. The Neem paste is believed to purify the blood and build up immunity in the body against diseases.

The festivities
On the 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 colors mirroring the burst of color associated with spring. Everyone dresses up in new clothes and it is a time for family gatherings. Specialties like soonth panak and chana usal are eaten on this day. Traditionally, families are supposed to begin the festivities by eating the bittersweet leaves of the neem tree. Sometimes, a paste of neem leaves is prepared and mixed with ajwain, gul, tamarind and jaggery. All the members of the family consume this paste, which is believed to purify the blood and strengthen the body&-s immune system against diseases.The inner significance of this is to indicate that life is a mixture of good and bad, joy and sorrow, success and disappointment, and all of them have to be treated alike. All experiences have to be treated with equanimity. Every one should resolve to face calmly whatever happens in this year, accepting it with good grace.We all should rise above sorrow and happiness, success and failure. Auspicious days like Ugadi should be used for making resolutions to change our way of life and to purify our behavior by giving up all bad qualities.

People also listen to Panchanga (Panchanga Shravana-listening to the yearly calendar) on Ugadi. Experts will open the new Panchanga on the day and explain the forecast of rain, crop, storms, crop prices and other relevant things. Prediction of the whole year make people prepared to face any situation.

In Maharastra, shrikhand -a fragrant yogurt dessert, with poori-a fried puffy bread is prepared.

Gudi Padwa- an ode to the season of bounty

This is a time of the year when the sun&-s rays enhance in intensity, going from mellow to hot. The crops have now been harvested and the fruits of the harvest are making their way to the marketplaces. Mangoes, the king of fruit, ripening to orange under the sun&-s warmth, are in season once again. The ripe smell of jackfruit fills the air. Shrubs and trees are bursting into flower. Everything is fresh and new.
Gudi Padwa, also known as Ugadi, is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, which according to the Gregorian calendar would fall sometime at the end of March and the beginning of April. This festival is supposed to mark the beginning of Vasant or spring. According to the Brahma Purana this is the day on which Brahma created the world after the deluge and time began to tick from this day forth.
India was, and still is , a predominantly agrarian society. Thus, celebrations and festivals were often linked to the turn of the season and to the sowing and reaping of crops. There is a theory that the word padwa might have its roots in the Sanskrit word for crop, which is Pradurbhu.The word padwa as used contemporarily means New Year but 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. In the case of Gudi Padwa, it is celebrated at the end of the Rabi season. The term padavaor padavo is also associated with Diwali, another New Year celebration that comes at the end of the harvesting season, thus substantiating the agricultural link to the festival
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