Gangaur is an extremely colorful and melodious festival of Rajasthan but is celebrated all over the country. It commences from Holi and continues for 18 days. The women folk celebrate the festival with great enthusiasm, devotion for Goddess Gauri, and lots of food to cherish. Married and unmarried all ladies worship Goddess Gauri the consort of Lord Shiva for a successful married life, conjugal love, and good husband. The festival also celebrates harvest and marital fidelity.
I have very fond memories of this festival as back in my home town when my friends used to celebrate it I was a part of it. They would make of Lord Shiva and Gauri as Isar ji and Gavarja Mata, and the whole family of Isar Ji. The story is that the Gavarja Mata comes to her mother’s place to do this ritual and on the completion of the rituals her husband along with his brother and sisters comes to Gavarja’s maternal home to take her back. The 18 days of the festival all the girls doing, the ritual cook good food and share with their friends and family. The family members and friends also treat the girl and ask her to visit their homes with their idols of Isar Ji and Gavarja Mata. They sing songs and for each ritual.There are plethora of songs that are sung for this festival.
It starts with early morning song were the girls ask Gavarja Mata to open the door and let them do the rituals, for the rituals they need green grass and fresh water for this also they sing a song and the get the stuff. All throughout the puja there are only songs and hymns that are sung and no mantras are chanted. It is also a puja that girls enjoy doing and it is done in fun filled way, there is no pandit or serious do’s and don’ts of the festival, the concept is just to enjoy the celebrations. The girls dress in their best attires for all the days, apply mehendi and wear jewelry.
From the seventh day after the Holi, the unmarried girls take out a parade with ghudlia and sing songs related to it. Gudhlia is an earthen pot with holes and a lamp inside it. Even when on the way the girls are gifted with goodies. It is also a trend to take your Gavarja mata to other Gavarja Mata.
On the last day of the festival the girls break their pots and throw the remains in a well or pond and thereafter enjoy a great meal. The last three days of the festival are full of fun and packed with lots of zeal. On the last day when the idols are submerged in water where it is assumed that Gavarja mata’s has her in -laws residing. The see off of Gavarja Mata will sadden your heart and with heavy heart, teary eyes and a wish that she would return the next year the girls and married ladies bid her adieu.
India is a country of festivals and this being on of it that is celebrated all over the country with great pomp and show. .
Pic credit- My sis Pragya.
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