Welcoming the New Year | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Welcoming the New Year

mumbai Updated: Mar 17, 2010 01:47 IST
Aarefa Johari

On Tuesday morning, Maharashtrians woke up to a New Year. Gudi Padwa celebrations started off as private family affairs at home and soon spilled out on the streets in colourful rallies and processions.

At Supriya Ghag’s home in Malad, the first day of the New Year was all about bringing to life traditional rituals and eating authentic Maharashtrian food.

“In the morning, we decorated and put up the gudi outside the window, and the whole family prayed together before it,” said Ghag (24), an MBA student.

The gudi, a brass vessel hoisted on bamboo with a bright cloth containing sugar, neem leaves, jewellery and garlands, is a symbol of the start of a new era.

For foodies, Gudi Padwa was dominated by shrikhand puri, a curd-based sweet dish, and puranpoli, the Maharashtrian sweet chapatti.

“The girls are also required to eat neem leaves with jaggery, for purification of the body and mind,” added Ghag, who spent her evening fulfilling another New Year ritual by shopping for gold with her family.

“Buying gold according to one’s means is an age-old tradition, considered very auspicious for the family,” said Preeti Doiphode (25), a public relations professional.

The Worli resident was more excited about dressing up in a navwari (nine yard) sari on Gudi Padwa.

“These days in Mumbai, this is the only day that people actually get to wear it.”

Outside, at least 120 New Year processions snaked through the streets, with drummers, dancers and floats depicting the history of the festival.

“In my locality, the procession combined tradition with social causes, as they spread awareness about pollution control and water conservation,” said Ghag, who had participated in a traditional lejhim dance in one of last year’s processions.