Gudi Padwa is celebrated on the fourth day of Diwali festival. It is celebrated on the next day after Diwali, which is the first day of the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar. In Maharashtra, it is known as Gudi Padwa and it is also known as “Kartik Suddh Padwa”
There is a story behind celebrating this festival. When Vishnu was born as Vamana (the dwarf), he crushed Bali into the underworld. Then Prahlada, the grandfather of Bali pleaded Vishnu to pardon Bali. Then Bali was made the king of the underworld. On Bali’s request, Vishnu granted a boon that people on earth would remember him and would worship him. That is the reason for Balipadyami. On that day also people burst crackers and celebrate in the name of Bali.
It is believed ‘Gambling’ should be played on this day. The story goes on, once on this day, Shiva and Parvathi played the dice game. Shiva lost to Parvathi. Kumaraswami then played dice with Parvathi and won. Then Lord Ganesh played with Lord Kumaraswami and won. Since then, it has been customary for the family to be involved in gambling on this day.
It also marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya and Vikram-Samvat was started from this Padwa day.
Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped in every Hindu household and her blessings sought for success and happiness. This day is looked upon as the most auspicious day to start any new venture. In many Hindu homes, it is a custom for the wife to put the red tilak on the forehead of her husband, garland him and do his aarthi with a prayer for his long life. In appreciation of all the tender care that the wife showers on him, the husband gives her a costly gift. This Gudi Padwa is symbolic of love and devotion between the wife and husband. On this day newly married daughters with their husbands are invited for special meals and given presents. In olden days brothers went to fetch their sisters from their in-laws home for this important day.
Govardhan-Puja is also performed in the North on this day. Govardhan is a small hillock in Braj, near Mathura and on this day of Diwali people of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar build cow dung, hillocks, decorate them with flowers and then worship them. This festival is in commemoration of the lifting of Mount Govardhan by Krishna.
As per Vishnu-Puran, the people of Gokul used to celebrate a festival in honor of Lord Indra and worshiped him after the end of every monsoon season but one particular year the young Krishna stopped them from offering prayers to Lord Indra who in terrific anger sent a deluge to submerge Gokul.
People were afraid that the downpour was a result of their neglect of Indra. But Krishna assured them that no harm would befall them. He lifted Mount Govardhan with his little finger and sheltered men and beasts from the rain. This gave him the epithet Govardhandhari. After this, Indra accepted the supremacy of Krishna.
This day is also observed as Annakoot meaning mountain of food. Pious people keep awake the whole night and cook fifty-six or 108 different types of food for the “bhog” to Krishna. In temples specially in Mathura and Nathadwara, the deities are given milk bath, dressed in shining attires with ornaments of dazzling diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious stones. After the prayers and traditional worship, innumerable varieties of delicious sweets are ceremoniously raised in the form of a mountain before the deities as “Bhog” and then the devotees approach the Mountain of Food and take Prasad from it.
Wish You All A Very Happy Gudi Padwa & Govardhan Pooja!