Gudi Padava (March - April)
Maharashtran New Year's Day is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu month Chaitra (March-April). This festival is known as the Gudi Padava in Maharshtra. This day marks the start of the Hindu solar year. On the day of the festival people get up early and clean their houses, decorating them with intricate rangoli designs. Bamboo staffs (gudi) adorned with silk cloths and topped with a brass goblet or kalash are erected. It is said that these staffs drive away evil from the houses
Gudi Padva is considered one of the four most auspicious days in the year when people start new ventures. It is believed that Lord Brahma created the world on this day and so he is worshipped especially at this time. People prepare for the New Year by cleaning and washing their houses and buying new clothes. On the festival day they decorate their houses with mango leaves and 'rangoli' designs, and pray for a prosperous new year, and visit the temples to listen to the yearly calendar - 'Panchangasravanam' as priests make predictions for the coming year. In Maharashtra, it is reminiscent of the valiant Marathas returning home from their successful expeditions of war. They honour their favourite leader, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. A gudi (banner) with a swastika -marked metal pot and silk cloth is raised to announce victory and joy.
The prasad of Ugadi/Gudi Padwa is the bitter leaves of the neem tree with jaggery. There are special foods prepared for this festival. In the southern states, puligore-a sour tamarind rice dish, bobbatlu, holige- sweet stuffed bread and Ugadi Pachadi made of jagerry, raw mango pieces, neem flowers and tamarind is prepared. In Maharastra, shrikhand -a fragrant yogurt dessert , with poori-a
fried puffy bread is prepared.