Gudi Padwa also known as Padwa is celebrated by people across the state of Maharashtra as the Marathi New Year.The first day of the Chaitra month of the Hindu calendar is significant for two reasons -- it signifies the start of spring and according to the Brahma Puran, after a massive deluge destructed the world, Lord Brahma recreated it on this day.
Gudi Padwa Festival History
The major reason behind this day being regarded as the first day of the year is that, during the first day of Chaitra month, the sun states itself at a position above Vasant intersection, which is the point of intersection of the equator and the meridians. This position of the sun denotes the commencement of the season of spring. The religious scripture of Bhagvad Gita states Lord Krishna saying, "Among the seasons, the exhilarating Vasant season is my manifestation." In this season nature rejuvenates itself. The day is also termed special because this was the day when Lord Ram Chandra killed the ape king Vali to crown his brother Sugriv the king of Kishkindha. This is also the day when after one year from slaying Vali, he came back to Ayodhya after killing Ravana and a number of his demon allies.
Another incident which makes this day auspicious is that, on this very day, the Sakas registered victory over the Huns. This day also marks the commencement of the Shalivahan calendar and this happened soon after Shalivahan vanquished his Hun enemies. If Brahma Puran is to be believed, then this is the day when Brahma created the universe out of chaos. These are the major historical and mythological instances because of which this pious day is celebrated.
On Gudi Padwa, a gudhi is found sticking out of a window or otherwise prominently displayed in traditional Maharashtrian households. Bright green or yellow cloth adorned with brocade (zari) tied to the tip of a long bamboo over which gaathi (sugar crystals), neem leaves, a twig of mango leaves and a garland of red flowers is tied. A silver or copper pot is placed in the inverted position over it. Altogether, it is called as Gudhi. It is hoisted outside the house, in a window, terrace or a high place so that everybody can see it.
The Holy Prasad
Unlike most Indian festivals where prasad comprises something sweet, Gudi Padwa is one of the few festivals where people are treated to a unique preparation made from neem and jaggery. The bitter-sweet flavor is resembling of the journey of life -- mixed with happiness and sorrows.