Gudi padwa marks the Maharashtrian New Year. It is celebrated during spring and is also a harvest festival celebrated in Maharashtra and in Konkan areas.Maharashtrians celebrate the day by decorating their houses and also make colourful rangoli.
A special Gudi flag, generally of yellow or red colour, is made and is garlanded with flowers, mango and neem leaves. It is topped with upturned silver or copper vessel signifying victory and achievement. Gudi is believed to ward off evil, invite prosperity and good luck into the house.
The New Year day is also considered auspicious for 'vaastu puja' and opening new business establishments. Buying gold, a new vehicle, house or starting a new chapter is considered very prosperous on this day.
Delicacies made on Gudhi Padwa festival include Shrikand and Poori. In the earlier days, family members used to start the day by eating the leaves of neem tree. However, the tradition is not as rigidly followed these days. Usually, people consume a paste of neem leaves (combined with ajwain, jaggery and tamarind). The leaves as well as the paste are believed to cleanse blood and toughen the immune system.
Whatever be the state in which the festival is celebrated and whatever be its name, its significance as well as the scale of festivities surrounding it remains the same.