Gudi Padwa is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month. Gudi Padwa is celebrated as the New Year day by Maharashtrians.
Gudi Padwa is also known as Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. This festival marks the beginning of the spring season. People celebrate this festival with great spirit and joy.
Houses are cleaned prior to the festival. Colourful rangoli designs are drawn at entrances. New clothes are worn on this day. There is a family gathering and Maharashtrian delicacies are prepared for everyone. The Maharashtrians make puran poli or sweet rotis, soonth pak and usal.
Traditionally, bittersweet leaves of the neem tree are eaten on this day. A paste of crushed neem leaves, cumin seeds, jaggery and salt is taken before eating any food in the morning.
On this day, gudis are hung outside the houses or in the localities. A 'gudi' is a pole on the top of which an upturned brass or silver pot called a kalash is placed. The gudi is covered with a colourful silk cloth and decorated with marigold flowers, coconuts, and mango leaves that symbolize nature's bounty. Gudi is worshipped by offering sandalwood paste, turmeric and vermilion. Then, boys and young men of the locality form a pyramid and the person on top of the pyramid breaks the coconut which is in the kalash.
Gudi Padwa is considered a very auspicious day. New ventures are begun, house-warming poojas are performed, and people also may choose to buy gold, silver or property on this day. There are some elgends behind the celebration of Gudi Padwa. It is said that the Universe was created by Brahma on this day and Satyuga (The Age of Truth and Justice) began.
It is also believed that on this day, King Vali was killed by Rama and Shri Rama returned to Ayodhya victorious.
This is one of the 3 and a half days in the Hindu Lunar calendar, whose every moment is considered auspicious.