Gangaur is a very colourful and popular festival of Hindu that is celebrated with full enthusiasm and fervour in whole of India, especially in the state of Rajasthan. This festival is mainly observed by womenfolk for the wellbeing of husbands and marital bliss. Gangaur is observed on the first day of ‘Chaitra’ month, which is the day of ‘Holika Dahan’ and continues for the next 16 or 18 days. This corresponds to the months of March-April in the Gregorian calendar. The Gangaur Vrat and puja is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It also commemorates the divine marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Gangaur also marks the onset of harvest and monsoons; it is one of the most awaited events that is celebrated with immense pomp and show.
The word ‘Gana’ in Gangaur signifies Lord Shiva and ‘Gaur’ implies Gauri or Parvati. In Hindu mythology, Gauri is the personification of marital love and excellence. Hindu devotees, especially married women, worship Goddess Gauri during the festival of Gangaur for longevity and prosperity of their husbands. The festivities of Gangaur festival are very grand in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Colourful processions and fairs aptly describe this festival. The celebrations can also be witnessed in some parts of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal. Gangaur is also popularly referred as ‘Gauri Tritiya’.
Rituals during Gangaur Vrat
- The Gangaur Puja starts with collecting ashes from the ‘Holika Dahan’ and burying barley seeds and wheat in it. As a ritual these seeds are watered daily till they begin to germinate. It continues for entire 18 days.
- During the Gangaur Puja, women make colourful models of Goddess Gauri with wood or clay. These models are beautifully adorned with bright clothes and dazzling jewelry. Goddess Gauri is worshipped everyday with utmost devotion and dedication. During the puja traditional folk songs are sung every day. On the last day of the Gangaur puja, the idols are worshipped by the observer of Gangaur Vrat along with other married women. Special feats are offered to Goddess Parvati and in the evening the idols are taken for immersion in the nearest water body.
- Women observing Gangaur Vrat fast from the first day of the Hindu ‘Chaitra’ month until the final day of worshipping. They are allowed to eat only one meal during the day. It is believed that by devotedly keeping the Gangaur Vrat all the desires will be fulfilled.
- In some regions, especially in Rajasthan, grand ‘mela’ or fairs are organized during the Gangaur festival. Large processions carrying beautifully adorned idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are taken out. Complete fun and frolic mark this event.
Significance of Gangaur Vrat
Gangaur and its rituals are very unique that holds immense significance for Hindu women, both married and unmarried. On this auspicious day womenfolk worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The celebrations of Gangaur start just after Holi and continue for the next 16-18 days. Married women observe the Gangaur Vrat for long life and welfare of their husbands while unmarried keep this vrat to get their desired husbands. Moreover the festivities of Gangaur Vrat also signify the arrival of the awaited Spring Season.