In 2016, Gangaur will be celebrated on April 9-10.
Where is it Celebrated?
- Gangaur is celebrated all over Rajasthan and is one of the state’s most important festivals.
- Married women worship Gauri for the good health and longevity of their husbands.
- Unmarried women worship her to be blessed with a good husband.
- The most notable celebrations take place in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, and Nathdwara. In Udaipur, Gangaur coincides with the Mewar Festival.
How is it Celebrated?
- The festival is predominantly for women, who dress up in their best clothes pray for a husband of their choice, or the welfare of their husbands.
- On the last day, colorful processions of bejeweled images of the goddess Gauri wind their way all over cities and villages, accompanied by local bands.
- In Udaipur, there’s a boat procession on Lake Pichola, and fireworks.
- Women balance several brass pitchers on their heads add to the interest.
- The occasion ends with fireworks on the banks of the lake.
- Early in the morning in Jodhpur, thousands of maidens dress up, sing, and carry water and grass in pots.
- In Jaipur, the pomp and pageantry of the traditional procession starts out from the Zanani-Deodhi of the City Palace.
- It passes through Tripolia Bazaar, Chhoti Chaupar, Gangauri Bazaar, Chaugan stadium, and finally converges near the Talkatora.
- Elephants, old palanquins, chariots, bullock carts, and folk performances are all part of it.
What Rituals are Performed During Gangaur?
- Clay idols of Shiva and Parvati, to be worshiped during the festival, are made by local craftsmen.
- They’re brought home and decorated, and placed in a basket with grass and flowers.
- Wheat plays an important role in the rituals.
- It’s sown in small earthen pots (kunda) and the wheat grass is used for worship on the final day. Water pots are also decorated with traditional Rajasthani maandna (a special type of painting done with lime water).
- On the second last day of the festival, known as Sinjara, the parents of married women send their daughters sweets, clothes, jewellery and other decorative items.
- The women dress up in these items and adorn their hands and feet with mehendi (henna), and celebrate with their families.
- The festival culminates in Gauri’s departure on the last day, and the immersion of the clay idols in water.
- Gangaur is also an auspicious time of year to select a life partner. Tribal men and women get the opportunity to meet and interact, pick there partners, and elope and marry.