Beginnings are an epitome of hopes, happiness and immense enthusiasm. The Hindu New Year or Gudi Padwa or also called as Ugadi is widely celebrated to inaugurate the Hindu year. This is the first day of the Indian month of Chaita according to the lunar calendar. This day also marks the beginning of new season and end of the Rabi crops. People from all around India perform special rituals on this day and welcome the New Year with immense joy.
The preparations for this special day include proper cleansing of the house and decorating the home at its best. The family members install the Gudi at the entrance of their residence by taking a long stick, a sacred cloth which is mainly red or yellow in colour and a Kalash. After placing the kalash it is adorned with mango leaves and flowers. This ceremony is highly sacred and considered to bring happiness, prosperity and success for the family.
The festival is celebrated in honour of Maratha Shivaji Maharaj, a great king who had a kingdom that spread across the entire part of western India. This is the reason people worship the Gudi which is a cloth which flies like a flag that is usually a sign of victory in an army.
This day also represents love and devotion between the wife and husband. On this day newly married daughters with their husbands are invited for special meals and resents. Thus this is the festival where families and relatives get together to celebrate the joy. Special delicacies are also prepared like Shrikhand and Poori or Puran Poli in Maharashtra and a mixture of six tastes called Ugadi Pachhadi or Bevu Bella in South India.
This year Gudi Padwa is on 8th April 2016 and we wish that it brings new ray of hope in everyone’s life.
The fourth day of the five day long festivals, followed by Diwali is Govardhan Puja. This festival is another day of celebration holding special tribute to Lord Krishna by his devotees. There is a tradition of building cow dung hillocks, which symbolize the Mount Govardhan, the mountain which was once lifted by Lord Krishna. After making such hillocks people decorate them with flowers and then worship them. They move in a circle around the cow dung hillocks and offer prayers to Lord Govardhan.
This day is also observed as Anna-Koot, which literally means ‘mountain of food’. On this auspicious day the people prepare fifty-six or one hundred and eight different varieties of delicious dishes to offer Lord Krishna as ‘Bhog’. In the temples the deities are given milk bath, dressed in new shining attires and decorated with ornaments. Then they are worshipped, offered prayers and bhajans and also offered delicious sweets, fruits and eatables that are ceremoniously raised in the form of a mountain before the idols.
Legend of the festival:
This festival signifies the victory of humility and nobleness of Lord Krishna over the ego of Lord Indra. Due to the strong pride of Lord Indra, he felt insulted when the devotees of Mathura adored Govardhan hill and the cows and bulls. He expressed his rage through heavy and violent rains. Soon lord Krishna came to rescue and he protected the villagers as well as the animals by lifting up the hill on his little finger. The love and faith of the people for Lord Krishna, made lord Indra realize his worth and he had to surrender his ego in the feet of Supreme God.
This festival is a celebration of the love between the being and his supreme creation. Human beings express their gratitude by performing different rituals and also pray for their safety and blessings. It also express our love for the natural habitat and inspires the being to value and conserve the natural resources.
This day is also celebrated as Bali Pratipada or Bali Padva. It is celebrated in regards of the victory of Vamana (incarnation of the Lord Vishnu) over demon King Bali. It also marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya as ‘Vikaram-Samvat’ was started from this Padwa day.
Navratras are celebrated to worship different avatars and forms of Goddess Durga. To please Goddess Durga, a 9 day fast period is observed. During Navratri puja, the Durga Sapshati puja and havan with proper procedures and rituals is conducted where each family member gives ahuti and takes blessings from Durga mata. The last 3 days of Navratre are dedicated to Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of education, art and creativity). The Saraswati puja vidhi and processes need to be properly understood and applied.
- After getting ready and cleaning the puja room, sit facing towards east direction.
- Place a white cloth one platform and place the idol of Ma Sarawsati on it. Decorate the idol with turmeric, kumkum, rice, garlands and flowers. Books and musical instruments can also be placed near the deity.
- Place a green coconut on an earthen pot with a red coloured cotton cloth. Light the diya and remember lord Ganesha first and pray for the successful completion of the puja.
- Chant the following mantra and remain in meditation for a while.
||Yaa kundendu tushaaradhawala, yaa shubhra vastravrutha
Yaa veena varadanda manditakara yaa shweta padmasanaa
Yaa brahmachyuta shankara prabhrutibhi devai sadaa vandita,
Saa maam pathu saraswati bhagavati nishshesha,jadyapaha.
Aum saraswathyae namah, dhyanartham, pushpam samarpayami||
- Then offer the prasadam that you have made on the banana or betel leaf. Keep elaichi and lavanga on it.
- Perform the arti with camphor and diya and ring the bell or conch simultaneously.
To book the Saraswati puja package or order Saraswati puja samagri, contact Shubhpuja- http://shubhpuja.com/saraswatipuja-id-344757.html