INDIAN FESTIVALS : Gudi Padwa / Ugadi
By Vatsala Krishnakumar
Gudi Padwa/ Ugadi shares the spirit of all similar spring festivals like Baisakhi or Bihu - the spirit of hope and expectation of prosperity.

The first day of Chaitra is the Maharashtra’s New Year day i.e. Gudi Padwa. It is also called Ugadi in parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. People hoist a pole with a shining silver or brass metal vessel fastened to a flowing silk cloth called gudi. Garlands of sweet, sugary, battasa, neem leaves and flowers are tied to the banner.

The story is that on this day Lord Brahma created the Universe. Hence this day is also celebrated as the Birth Day of the earth. The gudi is tied outside the house, a new Panchang is placed before the gudi and a puja with haldi (turmeric), kumkum (red powder), chandan (sandalwood paste) and rice is performed. The custom is to eat a couple of bitter neem leaves fried in ghee and mixed with sugar. Neem leaves are antiseptic and they are eaten on Gudi Padwa to ensure good health.

Vishu and Gudi Padwa share the spirit of all similar spring festivals like Baisakhi, Yugadi or Bihu–the spirit of hope and expectation of prosperity.

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