Maharashtrians, Konkanis, Goans and Sindhis celebrate Hindu New Year April 9

Picture of a Gudi hoisted at a home in Pune. PHOTO: Abhinavgarule at Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

The festival of Holi has just passed, marking the beginning of the Spring season in India. Days become longer and warmer and it is time for harvesting the winter crops. The first day of the Hindu luni-solar calendar also brings New Years for several Hindu communities in different states of India.

The new year day is celebrated in different parts according to their traditions, with special dishes assigned to the day. It is traditionally believed that whatever one does on the new year day, gets repeated through the year. So people wear new clothes, eat good food, decorate their doorsteps and houses, visit the temples, meet friends and family, greet each other with smile and a piece of sweet to keep amicability in relations.

New Year’s Wishes in Marathi:
या नवीन वर्षाच्या दिवसानिमित्त वर्षभर आरोग्य आणि आनंदाच्या शुभेच्छा –
Translation: Best wishes on this new year’s day for health
and happiness throughout the year.


Gudi Padwa:

Gudi Padwa is the Maharashtrian New Year Day, falling on the first day of the luni-solar calendar in the month of Chaitra. The Marathi word ‘Padwa’ means the ‘First Day’. Gudi Padwa is celebrated in  Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa and Daman, including the city of Mumbai. This year, Gudi Padwa falls on Tuesday, April 9, 2024.

Although there are different stories behind the day which include the story of Lord Ram’s return to Ayodhya that day, the story of Brahma that day creating the world with concept of time, the story of King Shalivahan defeating the Huns, and the story of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj defeating the Mughals that day, Gudi Padwa has always been a joyful day celebrating Spring and ‘Rabi’ crops or winter crops.

Traditions : Traditionally, a ‘Gudi’ is installed in front of the house, made up of an upturned copper vessel atop a long bamboo stick, a sari wrapped around it to resemble a woman, flower and sugar candy garlands thrown around it. ‘Gudi’ is supposed to ward off all evils from the home.

Traditional dishes like Shreekhand and Poori are cooked at most homes. People from the Konkan area make a special dish, Kanangachi kheer, made of sweet potatoes, coconut milk, rice and jaggery.

A ‘toran’ made of mango leaves and marigolds would decorate the main entrance of the house. A bath with water with bitter neem leaves immersed into it and drinking of the juice of bitter neem leaves or eating them raw are part of other traditions.

Ugadi and Yugadi:

The first day of the lunisolar calendar is also celebrated as Ugadi by the Telugu Hindus, and as Yugadi by the Kannada Hindus. It is also known as Samvatsaradi marking the beginning of the year.

Traditions : Each household is decorated with colorful ‘rangoli’ or ‘muggulu’ made of rice flour. Mango leaf ‘torans’ are tied at the entrances. People wear new clothes after bathing with special ‘ubatan’, and visit temples. The special meal of the day consists of ‘pachadi’, which combines five flavors considered necessary for the body –  sweet, sour, salty, bitter, acidic and spicy.

Cheti Chand:

The first day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar is also the new year day ‘Cheti Chand’ for the Sindhi Hindus. Literally meaning the new moon of the month of Chaitra called Chet in Sindhi language. Marking the arrival of Spring and harvest, the day also marks the birth of Jhulelal

Traditions : Traditionally, Sindhis take a procession to the river the Baharana Sahib made of a ‘kalash’ with a coconut, covered with leaves, flowers, fruits, crystal sugar and a lamp.

The new year is celebrated with fairs and feasts and dancing.

At home, special dishes are made such as Tahiri, Sai Bhaji, Bhuga Chawal, and more.



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