Celebrated In: India in Spring Season
Celebrated By: Hindu (Hindu)
Gangaur, the third day of Chaitra Navratri
Gangaur, popularly known as Gauri Tritiya, which is predominantly celebrated in North Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. The word Gangaur is derived from two different words; ‘Gana’ means Lord Shiva and ‘Gaur’ means Goddess Parvati. Hence the famous Hindu festival is dedicated to the most revered God, the protector of universe lord Shiva and goddess Parvati; Gangaur means Shiva and Parvati together. The puja is observed to keep the matrimonial harmony intact between the couples. Gangaur festival is celebrated for 18 days, which begins on the first day of Chaitra month. Women keep Gangaur ‘brat’ wishing good health and long life of their husbands. During this festival they worship the divine couple Shiva-Parvati seeking their blessings for the marital bliss. The festival is also called as ‘saubhagya teej’.
Significance of Gangaur:
Gangaur is a festival which is celebrated to establish marital harmony among the couples; hence it is a festival that brings love and prosperity among the married couple. Unmarried women observe the festival to find the right husband for them. There is a spiritual significance of celebrating this Puja.
Gangaur marks the union of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati and their eternal love. Goddess Parvati pleases Lord Shiva with her dedication and devotion. She meditated for a long time to have the blessings of Lord Shiva. After praying hard Lord Shiva gets contented with Goddess Parvati and married her. Later on Goddess Parvati went to her paternal home and there she blessed her friends with happy and prosperous marriages. She stayed with her parents for 18 days. On the day of her departure, a grand ceremony was organised to bid her farewell. The farewell ceremony was conducted as Lord Shiva came down to earth to escort Goddess Parvati to his home.
From that day onwards Gangaur festival is celebrated to establish the marital peace and harmony between the couples. The festival also helps restoring the lost affection and dedication between the married couples. During this festival women make idols of Lord Shiva and Parvati from clay.
Date and time of Gangaur:
Every year Gangaur is celebrated on shukla paksh of chaitra month, according to Hindu calendar or ‘Hindu Panjika’. Therefore, the festival rituals start from the very next day after the ‘Holi’ festival and continue to be a long celebration of 18 days. Notably the festival is popularly celebrated in parts of Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Nathdwara.
Rituals of Gangaur festival:
Gangaur is the festival that reveres goddess Gauri, who is the incarnation of goddess Parvati. Goddess Gauri represents the purity and prosperity of a married woman. Hence this festival is observed to pray for the long life of husbands and to bring prosperity to home. The festival is celebrated exclusively among married women who dress themselves in traditional attires and jewelleries and keep fasting for good luck and health of their husbands. On the last day of the celebrations, colourful processions of goddess Gauri adorned with colourful dress and jewelleries are carried out all over the cities and villages. To grace the occasion local bands accompany the procession.
The ritual of Gangaur puja is full of vibrant colours and devotion towards the deity. From the early morning women wake up and after taking bath get dressed in traditional attires to perform the puja. The ash obtained from Holika Dahan ritual is mixed with the mud, on which the grains of wheat and barley are sowed. Then these grains are watered for the next 18 days till the final day of Gangaur festival. The wheat grass grown from the seeds is used for the puja on the final day of the festival.
Both married and unmarried women observe fasts to pray for the good health and long life of their husbands; they need to keep fast for the whole 18 days. They take only one meal a day. On the seventh day the unmarried girls carry clay pots with a lamp burning inside it, called ‘ghudilas’ on their head and dance, sing to attract the perfect partner.
On the second last day of the festival which is called Sinjara, the parents of married women send their daughters sweets, clothes, jewelleries and other decorative items as a means of blessings to perform the Gangaur Puja. Women dress up themselves the next day with the items they receive from their parents.
The last three days of Gangaur festival is spent preparing for the departure of the Goddess parvati. Both married and unmarried women make the deities dress in colourful attires and place them on their head and went for the procession where in women sing the Gangaur Geet. This is a special geet, which is sung indicating Goddess Gauri’s departure to her husband’s house. On the final day the idols of Goddess Parvati are kept in the water bodies which mark the conclusion of the ceremony and the festival as well.
Gangaur in Rajasthan:
Gangaur festival is a grand celebration in Rajasthan state.In Jaipur a popular sweet named ‘ghewar’ is distributed among the relatives and families. During the procession, Goddess Gauri idols are being carried in palanquins to the nearest water bodies. The procession starts from Tripola Bazaar, Gangauri Bazaar, Chotti Chaupar and Chaugan Stadium.
In Udaipur many women carry pitchers on their heads and walk in balance along the streets. Many elephants, bullock carts and chariots join the grand procession to enhance the occasion. Folk dance and music celebrations are also organised on the auspicious occasion of Gangaur. We can also find boat processions in the lake ‘Pichola’, being carried out with lot of enthusiasm. In the evening many colourful fireworks magnify the glory of the sky.
In Jodhpur, the celebration continues for just 16 days, where in the idols of the deities are decorated in pure gold jewelleries and dry powder is offered in puja to the deities. Here also one can witness a lot of cultural programmes including fancy dress competition, folk dance and music competitions.
Similarly in Jaisalmer also the procession becomes grand with luxurious Camel rides, where as in Bikaner the grand festival is celebrated in the Junagarh Fort with lots of musical programmes and folk dances.