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Gauri Pujan
   (Bhadrapada shudhha Shashthi)

These Gauris are ceremoniously welcome in the house. The impressions of their feet are colorfully stamped all over the house right from the entrance of the house. Water is sprinkled over them and rice thrown over them. These images are taken around the entire house. These images are usually handled by unmarried girls. The hostess of the house questions Gauri, “Where have you come?” and the girl holding the images, while answering describes the house where they are brought. Then the hostess utters, “Come to us with golden feet and stay with us forever”.

Total stay of these Gauris is for three days, the first day is a day of welcome, second day of pooja and worship, so also offering her Nevedya and the third day is of immersion in the water. After immersion, it is customary for the people to bring small pieces of stones from the river and spread them in the house. This symbolizes the prosperity and protection of plants and crops. Many people believe in this.

On the day of Gauri Poojan, the hostess of the house arranges “Haldi Kumkum” commonly in her house, calling selected ladies for Gauri Darshan. She applies Haldi Kumkum on their forehead and distributes prasad. In Konkan, among the fisherman community, they ceremoniously unite, sing songs and dance and the Gauri immersion takes place in procession. With gaiety and joy.

It is advocated to perform pooja of Mahalaxmi along with ‘Gauri’, thus there are always two images, which are simultaneously worshipped.

Gauri is an incarnation of Parvati. Ganapati is a son of Parvati. Still it is a belief that she is a sister of Shri Ganesha. Thus the entire ceremony is known to be an occasion for those married girls who come to stay with their parents for festive occasion.

The times have changed, so also the customs and traditions. The thinking process has undergone changes. Gauri is normally followed by Ganesha and hence their relation is tied up as of sister brother. In olden day, the married girls were under strong family restrictions and were hardly allowed to go to their parents place. When their parents desired they used to officially give invitation and then the girls used to visit their house. Gauri-Ganapati was such and occasion, when the girls used to see her parents and stay with them.

Such celebrations serve dual purpose - joy, happiness and gaiety in the family plus the satisfaction of discharging religious duties, holding faith in God.
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