The ‘Gudi’, which means ‘doll’ is created by Maharashtrians, with six ingredients that symbolize new beginnings. People celebrate the festival by offering special prayers and preparing an array of culinary preparations. Puran Poli and Kheer are two such preparations which prepared in Maharashtrian families celebrating Gudi Padwa.
The word Padwa is derived from the Sanskrit word Paddava, which means the first day of the bright phase of the moon. A stick decorated with a bright cloth, neem leaves and garlands is unfurled outside a Maharashtrian household and hence, it got the name Gudi Padwa.
The devotee takes a holy oil bath followed by puja and performing rituals. Along with that eating neem leaves on the occasion is one of the rituals that are apparently strictly followed. The day also marks the beginning of Chaitra Navratri, that lead up to Ram Navami, Lord Rama’s birthday to be celebrated on the ninth day.
In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the festival is celebrated as Ugadi. In Tamil Nadu, the lunisolar festival is known as Puthandu, in Assam as Bihu, Naba Barsha in West Bengal, Pana Sankranti in Orissa and Baisakhi in Punjab.
It is believed that this day marks the beginning of a cycle of 60 years and each year is identified by a unique name. On this day, people celebrate by decorating their homes with rangoli and flowers signifying the onset of harvest and spring season. Gudi Padwa or Ugadi commences with the eating of a specific mixture known as Bevu-Bella that comprises neem and jaggery, which symbolises that life is a mix of both- good and bad, joy and sorrow and that we must accept both with grace.