India has a rich union of diverse forms of traditions and festivals across all its states. Every region of the country follows different traditions. Today, we are going to speak about one of the most colourful and joyful celebrations followed in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh – the Gangaur festival. Following the festival of Holi, the traditions of this festival are followed for 18 days with great zeal and passion by women as a devotion to Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati. Lord Shiva is known as “Gana” and Goddess Parvati as “Gauri”, thus the name combined forms the word “Gangaur”. Goddess Parvati is a symbol of virtue and devotion, and is considered a legendary figure by married women, which is why this festival is held particularly in her honour.
Both married and unmarried women perform the traditions of this festival. While married women worship the deities for marital bliss and happiness, unmarried girls worship them to get a suitable match. During the days of the festival, women bury the seeds of wheat and barley in the ashes of the fire of Holika, and water them every day until they germinate. They observe fast for 18 days and have only one meal a day. Idols of both Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are made from clay and are decorated with colourful clothes and ornaments. On the last day of the celebration, these idols are carried on the heads of the women and taken to a water body. The idols are then submerged in water, depicting the grand farewell of the Goddess by her beloved worshippers with Lord Shiva to their home.
This entire festival is celebrated with rich tradition, belief and rituals, and depicts the colourful and musical heritage of the state of Rajasthan. There is a feeling of love spread all around on this occasion. Because this festival celebrates the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, the festivity also gives an opportunity to tribal men and women to come in contact with one another, meet and interact freely, so that they can select partners of their choice to get married to.
The most prominent celebrations take place in Rajasthan, in the particular cities of Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Nathdwara. Ghewar, a popular sweet dish of Rajasthan is distributed between families, relatives, and friends on this occasion. This year, this amazing festival is falling on 30th
of March. If you wish to get the feel of this lovely festival, you must visit the cities of Rajasthan.
If you are a married woman looking for marital bliss, or an unmarried girl looking for a life partner, you can also engage yourself in this festival. However, if your customs do not allow you to do so, there is another way out. You can get in touch with MakeMyPuja Pandits and have a Gauri Shankar Puja performed, which is equivalent of this festival in pleasing Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati for the same purposes. It is believed that Mata Sita also performed this Puja before getting married, in order to have a husband like Lord Rama.