Gudi Padwa is an Indian festival that marks the beginning of the New Year and it is right around the corner. People are gearing up to celebrate the New Year during a long extended weekend with rituals and traditional dishes. It is an auspicious day that marks the New Year observed by Marathi and Konkani Hindus and is observed in the month of Chaitra, according to the lunisolar calendar. This year Gudi Padwa will be observed on 13th April. 

Gudi is the word used to refer to Brahma’s flag (which is hoisted on this day). It is believed that hoisting the Gudi outside homes wards off any evil influences, making way for good luck and prosperity. While Padwa is derived from the Sanskrit word Paddava or Paddavo which refers to the first day of the bright phase of the moon. This festival is celebrated on the first day of the month of Chaitra, according to the Hindu calendar, which usually falls during March-April according to the Gregorian calendar. This day is also symbolic of the season of Vasant or spring in India.

Different parts of India celebrate the Gudi Padwa festival under different names, it is known as Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh, Yugadi in Karnataka, Bihu in Assam, and Poila Baisakh in West Bengal. Other communities such as the Konkanis and Sindhis observe it under the names Sanvsar Padvo and Cheti Chand, respectively. The day also marks the beginning of Chaitra Navratri, which leads up to Ram Navami. Gudi Padwa Festival is usually met with processions throughout the country, but this year that might not be the case. 

Gudi Padwa History And Significance

One of the sacred texts of the Hindus, the Brahma Purana states that Lord Brahma recreated the world after a raging deluge in which all time had stopped and all the people of the world, destroyed. At the Gudi Padva Festival, time restarted and from this day on, the era of truth and justice (known as Satyug) began. Therefore, Lord Brahma is worshipped on this day.

Another popular legend about the Gudi Padwa History revolves around the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya along with his wife Sita and his brother Laxman from exile. The ‘Brahmadhvaj’ or ‘the flag of Brahma’ (other names for the Gudi) is hoisted in memory of the coronation of Lord Rama. The Gudi is hoisted at the entrance of the household in commemoration of the Gudi that was hoisted in Ayodhya as a victory flag. Gudi Padwa significance also involves the return of Lord Rama after victory over King Bali on this day, marking the occasion.

For the people of Maharashtra, there is an added Gudi Padwa significance. It is believed that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, a celebrated leader of the Maratha clan, led the troops to victory and attained freedom for the kingdom from the dominion of the Mughals in that area. The Gudi then is a symbol of victory and prosperity. 

Preparation Of The Gudi

The Gudi is made with a bright coloured silken cloth with zari brocade on it and tying it on to a long bamboo stick. On top of the cloth then, neem leaves, gathi (a Maharashtrian sweet preparation), a garland of red or yellow flowers and a twig with mango leaves are also tied. This stick with the various ornaments is topped off with an inverted silver or copper pot. The Gudi is placed either at the entrances, maybe the gate or outside the window.

Gudi Padwa Celebrations: The Day Of The Festival

Since Gudi Padwa marks the beginning of spring and the Maharashtrian New Year a thorough cleaning (or as our parents call it the ‘saaf safai abhiyaan’) of the entire house as well as the courtyards is a must. Afterwards, they bathe in special oils and aromatics. This ritual is meant to cleanse the bodies and souls and prepare them for a new dawn. Maharashtrian women wear a kashta or a nauvari – a saree tucked at the back, while the men are dressed in a kurta-pyjama.

Decorations are a major part of Ugadi Gudi Padwa, like any festival in India; houses are decorated with flowers, rangoli designs on their doorsteps, the vibrant colours mirroring the burst of colour associated with spring. This is followed by prayers and the consumption of neem leaves. In North India, the nine-day festival of Chaitra Navaratri begins on the same day. The hoisting of the Gudi is the most important ritual of the Gudi Padwa celebration in Maharashtra. After it is erected, people offer prayers to Lord Brahma. Ugadi Gudi Padwa is one of the few festivals where people are treated to a unique Holy Prasad made from neem and jaggery (the bitter-sweet flavour is meant to resemble the journey of life — mixed with happiness and sorrows).

Another unique custom of Gudi Padwa and Ugadi is the ingestion of Neem leaves. These can either be eaten directly or ground into a paste and used in a special preparation along with jaggery and certain seeds. 

3 Authentic Recipes For Gudi Padwa Celebration

Gudi Padwa Festival without lip-smacking food is incomplete! You can prepare numerous dishes to feast on like, Shrikhand, Puran Poli, Pal Payasam, Kothimbir Wadi, Bhakarwadi and many more. Let’s start with a few traditional delicacies of Gudi Padwa and Ugadi.

1. Puran Poli 

Puran Poli is a sweet flatbread stuffed with a sweet lentil filling made from skinned split Bengal gram/chana dal and jaggery. Puran Poli recipe hails from the Marathi cuisine. In Maharashtra, it is prepared by using chana dal, however, in Gujarat toor dal is preferred for making it.

Preparation Time: 26-30 minutes

Cooking time: 26-30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour (atta)
  • 1 cup split Bengal gram (chana dal) boiled 
  • 1 cup of sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon green cardamom powder (elaichi
  • A pinch of nutmeg powder (jaiphal
  • A pinch of salt 
  • 1 tablespoon oil 
  •  ½ cup pure ghee for cooking

Method:

  1. Heat a deep non-stick pan. Add gram and sugar. Then mix well and cook for 15-20 minutes. Transfer in a puran yantra and finely grind it. Add cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and mix well.
  2. This is Puran. Sieve wheat flour in a bowl. Mix well by adding salt, oil and knead into a semi-soft dough using sufficient water.
  3. Divide dough into equal portions shaped into balls. Spread each ball into a katori, put a large portion of puran in it and seal it into a ball.
  4. Dust your palms with little flour, press and roll out a ball into a large roti, dusting with flour. Similarly, make other Puran Polis. Heat a non-stick tawa.
  5. Place a Puran Poli on it and cook till golden from both sides, using ghee. Smear ghee on Puran Polis and serve hot.

2. Canapés With Mango Shrikhand

Mango Shrikhand is a creamy mango yoghurt dessert. Shrikhand is a sweet dish made using hung curd and powdered sugar and is usually served with puri. It is an assortment of silky smooth curd, a hint of flavouring, and a crunch of dry fruits. So let’s waste no time and see how to make it.

Preparation Time: 11-15 minutes

Cooking time: 11-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  •  50 grams mango puree  
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • Oil and butter 
  •  4 cups of  hung curd (dahi)
  • 1 cup of sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon green cardamom powder (elaichi)
  • 1 tablespoon honey for garnish 
  • 1/2 cup mixed dried fruits chopped 

Method:

  1. Rub the butter into the refined flour till it resembles bread crumbs. Add salt and sufficient warm water to make a smooth and pliable dough. Set aside for one hour.
  2. Divide the dough into equal portions. Make balls from each portion and roll out each ball into a roti. Shape it into a canapé with the help of a canapé mould. Prick each canapé with a fork.
  3. Heat sufficient oil in a kadhai and deep-fry the canapés till golden brown and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper and set aside.
  4. Whisk together the hung yoghurt, sugar and cardamom powder in a bowl till well blended and smooth. Set aside for twenty-five to thirty minutes.
  5. Add the mango puree and mix well. Strain the mixture through a muslin cloth into another bowl and set to chill for two hours in a refrigerator.
  6. Fill the canapés with the mango Shrikhand. Drizzle honey and serve immediately, garnished with mixed dry fruits.

3. Crispy Bhakarwadi

Bhakarwadi is a delicious sweet and spicy crispy Maharashtrian snack. These refined and gram flour dough spirals are filled with a sweet-spicy mixture of coconut, poppy seeds and sesame seeds and then deep-fried till crisp. Making them is a little time consuming but you can store them in an airtight container for a couple of days.

Preparation Time: 51-60 minutes

Cooking time: 11-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup refined flour (maida
  • 1 tablespoon semolina (suji or rawa
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder (kali mirch)
  • 2 tablespoons oil to deep fry
  • 100 grams french beans roughly chopped and boiled 
  • 100 grams green peas boiled
  • 1/2 cup fresh coconut scraped 
  • 2-3 medium boiled potatoes, peeled and mashed 
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-green chilli paste 
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder 
  • 1/2 cup  fresh coriander leaves chopped (dhaniya)
  • Salt to taste 

Method:

  1. Take refined flour in a mixing bowl, add semolina, pepper powder, salt and sufficient water to the semi-stiff dough. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and knead again. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. For the stuffing, put French beans, green peas, fresh coconut, potatoes, salt, ginger-green chilli paste, garam masala powder, coriander leaves in another bowl, mix well and mash everything together.
  3. Divide the dough into two equal portions and roll out each portion into thin chapattis.
  4. Spread the vegetable mixture evenly on each chapatti. Roll them tightly into cylinders and seal the two opposite ends. Keep the rolls in the refrigerator for some time.
  5. Heat sufficient oil in a kadhai. Cut the cylinders into half-inch pieces.
  6. Gently slide the Bhakarwadi into hot oil and deep-fry, on medium heat, till golden and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper
  7. Arrange them on a serving platter and serve hot with green chutney.

The auspicious day of Gudi Padwa is eagerly awaited by everyone but don’t let Covid-19 get your festivities spirit down! Enjoy every single aspect of the Gudi Padwa celebration with your close ones. May this year new brings health, happiness, prosperity and a lot of trips for you and your family.

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