GANGAUR FESTIVAL

Sakshi Nagar 24-03-2023 01:04 PM Culture

Gangaur festival is a folk festival in Rajasthan that is all about celebrating the marriage and love of Goddess Gauri and Lord Shiva. Married women worship Goddess Parvati for their husbands' long life and good health, while unmarried women worship the goddess to get a good husband.

WHY IS GANGAUR FESTIVAL CELEBRATED?

The festival also marks the celebration of spring and harvest. Gana symbolizes Lord Shiva, and Gangaur represents Lord Shiva and Parvati together. According to legends, Gauri won the affection and love of Lord Shiva through her deep devotion and meditation. And after that, Gauri goes to her ancestral home during Gangaur to bless her friends with marital bliss and stays for 18 days, there is a big celebration on the day of departure, and Shiva comes to take her back. The Gangaur festival usually lasts for 18 days, as people in most regions start performing rituals a day after Holi. Festivities occur in Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Nathdwara, and Bikaner.

HOW IS GANGAUR FESTIVAL CELEBRATED?

The Gangaur festival takes place in the month of March or April, starts a day after Holi, and lasts for eighteen days. This festival of Gauri Pujan is celebrated with full pomp in all the provinces of India with little or no name difference. On this day women wear beautiful clothes and jewelry. On this day the married women observe a fast till noon. For this, a twenty-four angul wide and twenty-four angul long square altar is made at a holy place in a room of the house and the chowk is completed with turmeric, sandalwood, camphor, saffron, etc. Then after making (establishing) Gauri i.e., Parvati from sand, on this establishment the things of Suhaag- glass bangles, vermilion, roli, henna, tika, bindi, comb, mirror, kajal, etc. are offered.

Women make clay images of Shiva and Parvati, dress them in beautiful clothes, worship them, observe a day-long fast for marital happiness, and prepare delicious dishes for the family. For the local people of Rajasthan, Goddess Parvati represents perfection and conjugal love; In such a situation, the Gangaur festival has special significance for them. The first and foremost tradition of Gangaur is to collect ashes from the sacred fire in earthen pots (kunds) and sow wheat and barley seeds in them.

After seven days women make colorful idols of Gauri and Shiva while singing mesmerizing Rajasthani folk songs. In some families, the idols are preserved for years and are decorated and painted on auspicious occasions. On the evening of the seventh day, a rally is taken out by unmarried girls by placing a lamp inside an earthen pot called Ghudaliya. Girls walking around are blessed with small gifts like sweets, jaggery, a little currency, ghee or oil, clothes, and jewelry.

This continues for the rest of the day and the pottery is broken on the last day of the festival. For all 18 days, newly married women fast for the whole day while other women keep fast by eating once a day. The festive atmosphere reaches its peak during the remaining three days, when women adorn themselves with clothes, adorn their hands with henna (mehndi), and also decorate their idols for Gangaur Puja. Sinjara is a gift sent by married women's parents, including sweets, clothes, jewelry, and other decorative items to their daughters. The last day of Gangaur is grand, with many tourists and locals gathering to watch a procession of large numbers of women carrying the idols of Gauri and Issar on their heads to a lake, river, or garden, and Farewell is given to Shivji. Their idols are immersed in water.

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