Gudi Padwa marks the beginning of New Year in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and pa rts of Karnataka.

This festival is known as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra and Ugadi i n Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Gudi Padwa is considered one of the four most auspicious days in the year when p eople start new ventures. It is believed that Lord Brahma, created the world on this day and so he is wors hiped specially at this time. Lord Vishnu too is said to have incarnated as Matsya, the fish, on this day. A gudi (banner) with a swastika -marked metal pot and silk cloth is raised to an nounce victory and joy. In Maharashtra, it is reminiscent of the valiant Maratha s returning home from their successful expeditions of war. Maharashtrian take th e opportunity to honour their favourite leader, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Peop le welcome the new year by worshipping the gudhi and distribute prasad comprisin g tender neem leaves, gram-pulse and jaggery. Gudhi Padwa signifies the beginnin g of a prosperous new year and is considered as a shubh muhurat - one of the mos t auspicious days - by Hindus. 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 an d 'rangoli' designs, and pray for a prosperous new year, and visit the temples t o listen to the yearly calendar 'Panchangasravanam' as priests make predictions for the coming year. Traditionally bitter leaves of the neem tree with jaggery were given as Prasad o f Ugadi/Gudi Padwa. Gudi Padwa is considered as an auspicious occasion to buy ornaments, house and o ther new things. The festival is celebrated when the heat of sun began intensifying and the time of harvesting the crop has come. The fragrance of ripening Mangoes, Jackfruit an d other seasonal fruits fill the air with sweet smell and are ready to be sold t o the marketplaces. Shrubs and trees are blooming with flowers. Gudi Padwa, also known as Ugadi, is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu mon th of Chaitra shukla Padyami, which corresponds to end of March or beginning of April according to the Gregorian calendar. This festival marks the beginning of 'Vasant' or spring. Indian society is largely dependendent on agriculture and e celebrations and fes tivals are often linked with changing seasons and to the sowing and reaping of c rops. The word 'padwa' is a Sanskrit word for crop, which literally means 'Pradu rbhu.' This day also marks the end of one harvest and the beginning of a new one , which for an agricultural community would signify the beginning of a New Year. Gudi Padwa is celebrated at the end of the Rabi season. Gudhi' is a victory symbol-characterized by a bamboo stick with a coloured silk cloth and garlanded with flowers and sweets atop . Maharashtrians erect gudhis on Padwa, the first day of the Hindu new year. Peopl e welcome the new year by worshipping the gudhi and distribute prasad comprising tender neem leaves, gram-pulse and jaggery. Gudhi Padwa signifies the beginning of a prosperous new year and is considered as a shubh muhurat - one of the most auspicious days - by Hindus.

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