Gangaur Festival, Rajasthan
Ganagur festival is celebrated in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Gujarat and others. This festival is celebrated by the women folk as the festival of Goddess Gauri. The festival is celebrated once a year, during the month of March. Among the colorful festivals of Rajasthan, this is one of the best festivals to try.
History of Gangaur Festival
Lord Shiva, Parvati (Gauri) and Sage Narad visited a small forest. When the visit of Gods became a news, women prepared feast for the Gods. The women of higher class came with their dishes, first. After dining, the Gods sprinkled holy water on them, as a symbol of blessing. Later, when the women of lower class came with their offerings, Gods did not have any remaining holy water for blessing. Thus, Goddess Parvati cut her finger and sprinkled blood as the holy water.
Importance of Gangaur Festival
Gangaur festival is celebrated for Gauri, the wife of Lord Shiva. This is a festival of marital fidelity and harvest. Gana means Lord Shiva and Gaur means Lord Gauri. Unmarried women taken up the rituals for the blessing of a good husband. Married women take up rituals and fasting for the health, wealth and love of the husband.
When is the Gangaur Festival?
In 2019, Gangaur Festival will be celebrated on 21 March - 8 April. 2019.
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Where Gangaur Festival Celebrated?
In Jaipur, the procession starts from Zanani Deodhi in City Palace and reaches Talkatora after passing through Tripolia market, Chhoti Chaupar, Gangauri market and Chaugan stadium. Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner also celebrates this festival.
Rituals Performed during Gangaur Festival
The festival starts on the first day of Chaitra, the day next to Holi festival. From the day of Gangaur festival, the women fast for 18 days to complete the ritual. During this 18-day period, women eat only once per day. The festival ends on the third day of Shukla Paksha.
How Gangaur Festival Celebrated?
Throughout the 18 days, the city celebrates with a lively fair that sells all kinds of souvenirs, masterpieces and interesting activities. Images of the God and Goddess are made out of clay for the rituals. Some families use their traditional wooden images, which they paint on the eve of the festival. This image or idol is used for rituals for the entire course of the fasting. Women decorate their hands and feet by applying myrtle paste in shapes of figures like flower, geometric design and others.
On the seventh day from Holi, unmarried women carry small earthen lamps and walk around the streets, singing ghudlia songs. This continues for the next ten days. On the 18th day, the Gangaur festival day, the earthen pot is destroyed and the remains are thrown into a tank or well. Later, the women break their fast by enjoying a feast.
The last three days are the best part of the festival. The locals decorate their deities with ornaments and dresses. At an auspicious time, the locals form a procession with the deities on the head of married women. The deities are placed in a garden, pond or near a well. For the next two days, the procession returns to offer prayers and rituals. On the final day, the idols are thrown into the water, bidding farewell to Gauri. It indicates the celebration of sending Gauri to her consort’s house.