A string of harvest festivals begin in the city on Monday, and for the communities celebrating them, there could not have been a better way to begin the new year.
With the World Cup back in India’s lap after a 28-year wait, Gudi Padwa, Ugadi and Cheti Chand – new year for Maharashtrians, Telugus, Kannadigas and Sindhis respectively - promise to be grander and more joyous this year.
“Our prayers have been answered. The World Cup win has made Gudi Padwa more auspicious than ever before,” said Shashikala Kamble, 50, a social activist from Worli’s Siddharth Nagar Chawl, where the party that began on Saturday night is still in full swing, and will continue till late on Monday night.
Kamble’s family will bring in the new year with traditional prayers around the propitious gudi, a bright sari cloth with sugar, neem and mango leaves, tied to a bamboo stick and copper pot, which is placed outside the window of every Maharashtrian household. “But this is the first time that our celebrations will also include a dance party with a DJ, thanks to India’s win,” said Kamble.
For Kiran Kumar and his four roommates from various districts of Andhra Pradesh, the victory at Wankhede has given a silver lining to their first Ugadi away from home and family. The group moved to Mumbai five months ago for jobs in a bank, and are missing the traditional Ugadi pachadi, a drink made by blending six different flavours.
“We are happy to get a holiday since our New Year coincides with Gudi Padwa, but we are still looking for a good place to eat traditional Andhra food,” said Kumar, 25, who lives in Lower Parel with his roommates.
On Tuesday, the Sindhi community will bring in Cheti Chand by paying obeisance to their sea god, Jhulelal, at various sea shores in the city.
“The rejoicing began on Saturday itself when the World Cup ended, and on New Year’s Day we will release more than 100 floating lights into the sea as we pray for the prosperity of our families,” said Prakashc Gidwani, a member of the Purshottam Lalsai Charitable Trust which will organise a religious and cultural programme for 4,000 people in Andheri on Tuesday.