Gangaur festival is one of the most well-known and liked celebrations in India. The word Gangaur is derived from two words - Gan means Shiva, and Gaur means Parvati. Goddess Gauri or Parvati, spouse of Lord Shiva, is worshiped throughout this 18-day-long festival. The Gangaur celebration begins the day after Holi and lasts till the third day of Chaitra Shukla Paksha. During the 18-day Gangaur Teej festival, natives conduct several cultural activities at various places.
In Rajasthan, Goddess Parvati is known as Teej Mata, and to celebrate this Goddess Parvati festival - Gangaur, females visit one another and exchange gifts as well as delicious snacks. The women get dressed colorfully, and the festive mood is all over.
Let us learn when to fast for Gangaur 2023 and how to observe the Vrat with proper rituals.
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How is Gangaur Vrat Observed?
To please Goddess Parvati and seek blessings from her, the newlyweds observe a half-day fast by consuming only one meal throughout the day. On the seventh day of the 18-day Gangaur festival, young and unmarried females sing and carry lighted lights while holding earthen pots. Moreover, they receive gifts from their parents and elders as a blessing.
After the celebration of 18-day Gangaur Pooja at their pihar, married women return to their husband's home. They get presents from their parents and brothers on the last day that consists of jewelry, clothes, and other items for the daughter, as well as her family, known as Sinjara.
The last day of this fest signals the end of multiple days of celebrations and festivities. The idols of the Gods are carried in a parade to a public area, such as a lake or well, where they are immersed in water.
As it is the famous festival of Mewar, it is also said that the idols of Gangaur were taken to the Gangaur Ghat (in Udaipur), in a grand march, on the last day of the festival. Gangaur Ghat is now a tourist place in the city of lakes, Udaipur.
When is Gangaur 2023?
The Gangaur festival will begin on March 8, 2023, and continue for the next 18 days to March 24, 2023. On March 23, 2023, the Tritiya Tithi will begin at 6:20 pm and end at 04:59 pm on March 24, 2023. Devotees make Shiv-Gauri idols out of clay, decorate them, and worship them during this period.
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Why is Gangaur Festival Celebrated?
Gangaur pooja holds much significance for females. It is meant to celebrate marriage and love while honoring the Goddess Gauri or Parvati. Especially in Rajasthan, it is believed that marital love and perfection are what Goddess Parvati represents.
Both married and unmarried women participate enthusiastically in the Gangaur celebrations, create clay sculptures of Shiva and Parvati, dress them attractively, and offer them prayers while doing Gangaur pooja. Women keep a day-long fast in order to pray for marital happiness. Delicious meals are prepared on the day of Gangaur.
Moreover, the Gangaur festival also marks the onset of spring and the harvest. As per mythology, the extreme dedication and meditation of Goddess Gauri helped her gain the affection and favor of Lord Shiva. Thus, women build their idols to demonstrate their dedication to their marriage and affection for their husbands.
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How to observe the Gangaur fast in 2023?
The Gangaur puja is performed in different ways at different places. You can also talk to expert astrologer on phone to find out how this festival is celebrated in your state. Nevertheless, a few rituals are followed at all places, such as -
- In the grass and flower-filled basket, place the statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, or say Isar-Parvati.
- Place the germinating wheat and barley seeds in an earthen pot.
- Sing Gangaur songs and listen to Gangaur Vrat Katha.
- Women who are newlyweds should observe an 18-day fast and eat only one time throughout the day.
- On the 7th day of the festival, unmarried girls sing Gangaur songs and parade. They also wear Ghudlia, which is an earthen pot with lamps in it while marching.
- On the second last day of Gangaur, females should apply mehndi on their palms and feet. The clothes and jewelry provided as Sinjara should be worn by married women.
- On the last two days, put the idols of Isar and Gauri on your head in the street parade. Singing the parting songs of Gangaur, return to your houses.
- As part of the ritual that brings them to the well or tank on the last day, girls should eventually smash their earthen pots and submerge the idols of Isar and Gauri in the water.
- Ghevar, kheer, barfi, and other savory and sweet snacks are available.
- Gangaur sweets are distributed to worshippers or provided as prasad after the ceremony.
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Gangaur Vrat Katha
Individuals believe in many different stories related to this festival. One of the stories says that Goddess Parvati while returning to her husband, Lord Shiva's home, was given a grand vidaai, or say, send-off by her family, which marks the Gangaur festival. Goddess Parvati convinced Lord Shiva to marry her through her severe penance and devotion, and Lord Shiva himself came to take her back home.
As you are well aware of the Gangaur 2023 dates as well as the details of Gangaur puja and Gangaur katha, make sure you observe it with utmost dedication to reap the benefits of the fasts.
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