Gangaur is one of the most important festivals in Hinduism. It is a colourful festival which is widely celebrated in Rajasthan, and some parts of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Gangaur is observed by women who worship Gauri, the consort of Lord Shiva. It is the celebration of spring, harvest and marital fidelity.
Gangaur comes from Gana which is a synonym of Lord Shiva and Gaur which stands for Gauri who symbolises Saubhagya (marital bliss).
Both married and unmarried marwari women observe Gangaur. While unmarried girls do to get a good partner, married women celebrate the festival for the good health and well-being of their husbands. Gangaur starts from the first day of Chaitra, the next day following Holi. Gangaur is observed for 16 days and sometimes extends to 18 days concluding with the immersion of the idols.
Newly married women observe this festival for 18 days, and it is known as Gangaur Ujwan. Sometimes, unmarried girls also celebrate Gangaur for 18 days by fasting and eating only one meal a day.
Gangaur Celebrations: HOLI: THE LEGEND OF RADHA AND KRISHNA
Gangaur starts the day after Holi and goes on for 16 days. Women apply mehendi and are offered sweets, clothes and jewellery by family members. Married women get gifts from her mother and mother-in-law. Gangaur Rituals: Every early morning, women take shower and worship Isar (Shiva) and Parvati (Gauri). Women also maintain a sheet which marks their presence for 16 days.
They apply three different tikkis on the sheet which consists of roli, mehendi and kajal. The three tikkis are applied every day after the woman worships Isar Parvati. Songs and stories mark the festive celebrations every day. The last three days are very important. The images of Gauri and Isar are dressed in new garments, especially made for the occasion.
The clay idols of Gangaur look really colourful and bright with garments and accessories which makes them look like a living figure. In some cultures, wooden idols are used which are polished every year and decorated with new garments. Women either use Isar and Parvati (two idols) or seven idols of Gangaur. The last day of Gangaur is celebrated in a grand way. Women feast each other and in early evening, go out with the Gangaur. The Gangaur of Jaipur is famous all over the world. The idols are immersed in river, pond or well and this concludes the 16 days of Gangaur festival.