Let’s take a look at the 5 most popular festivals that Indian’s second most populous state, Maharashtra, celebrates every year.
Like most Indian states, the state of Maharashtra celebrates festivals that are unique to itself along with others that unite the entire country in its celebrations. Maharashtrians are a vibrant and vivacious bunch who are famous for their spirit and tenacity. This shows in the kind of festivals they celebrate as well. Let’s take a look at the festivals that they love to celebrate and splurge on.
This festival brings the entire state to a standstill as “Ganpati Bappa” makes his way into people’s homes with festivities continuing for a good 10 days. Because of its sheer scale and fanfare, Ganesh Chaturthi is easily one of the biggest festivals in India. The southern states of India also celebrate this festival, where it is known as “Vinayaka Chaturthi”.
Celebrated in honour of the elephant-headed Lord Ganesh’s birthday, worshippers erect colourful pandals (temporary shrines) that go up to several metres in height. Foodies relish “modak” prepared by women at home that are served up as offerings to the Lord. The “Ganpati visarjan” i.e. the immersion on the final day, is a sight to watch as worshippers gather in the streets and stage group performances to bid their final goodbyes to the Lord.
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Gudi Padwa or the Marathi New Year is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month that signifies the onset of spring. For a nation that prides itself on its agricultural prowess, this is an extremely important harvest festival. On this day, people young and old begin their day with a holy bath and wear new clothes.
Women spruce up their houses and draw rangoli at the entrance and adorn it with colourful flowers and festoons. The gudi or a kalash made of either silver/copper/bronze that covers a stick is inverted and kept at the entrance of the house. This is called the Gudi.
Folks revel in regional delicacies like shrikhand, puri and puran poli. For the Konkans, the festival is synonymous with dishes like kanangachi kheer, an India dessert made of sweet potato, coconut milk, jaggery and rice.
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More popularly known as Janmashtami across the country, it celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. It’s celebrated typically in Maharashtra with the Dahi Handi which involves the building of a human pyramid in a bid to break a mud pot filled with curd, milk and butter. The idea is to mimic the mischievous activities of Lord Krishna. The formation of the human pyramid is a spectacular sight to behold. Devotees fast through the day and the festivities peak at midnight.
Also known as Uttarayan or Pongal in other parts of the country, Makar Sankranti is the celebration of the winter solstice. Following the glorious tradition of kite-flying, one can see the sky dotted with kites of various shades and hues.
Meals of gulachi poli (jaggery flatbreads) and sweets made of sesame are delicacies prepared during this time. A special ceremony is organised for newly married women and infants.
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Similar to the Lohri festival that’s celebrated in North India, Pola marks an important event in the life of farmers across Maharashtra. On this day, bullocks who play a vital role in agriculture are worshipped by farmers. The bullocks are bathed, decorated with ornaments and taken out in processions across the village.
This also determines the social standing of the farmers i.e. the order in which they are taken out into the village. Activities like sowing and ploughing take place as soon as the festival gets over. This festival is celebrated mostly in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra that has a large farmer population.
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Festivals serve as the perfect occasion for family reunions and loads of shopping. But they can also be pretty demanding on your finances especially if you haven’t safeguarded yourself against unprecedented expenses with a Credit Card or Personal Loan.
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