Celebrating Womanhood in Gangaur Festival, Jaipur
Gangaur Festival 2013
When it happens: 13th – 14th April, 2013
Where it happens: Rajasthan, India
Gangaur Festival, Jaipur is celebrated in some parts of India. It is a colourful event that is observed all through the state. It is considered as one of the most important festivals of the Rajasthan people so they celebrate it with great affection and passion, especially the women who worship the consort of Lord Shiva, Gauri. The festival is held between the months of March and April to commemorate marital fidelity, harvest, and spring. Unmarried women worship Gauri in order to blessed with good husbands, while married women do so to pray for health, welfare, and long life of the husbands. They also pray for a happy married life.
About the Festival
The Gangaur Festival, Jaipur takes place during the first day of the chaitra and continues for 18 consecutive days. For newly-wed women, they are required to observe the entire 18 days of the festival that accomplished her marriage. Unmarried girls also fast for the entire 18 days and only eat one meal per day. On the third day, the festivity is accomplished. Gangaur Melas or fairs are held all throughout the days and a number of folklores make the festival close to the hearts of the people.
There are also things which visitors like you can do during the Gangaur Festival, Jaipur. There are Gauri and Isar images made of clay for the festival. You can see wooden images painted every year by famous painters on the evenin of the festival. You can also see women decorate their feet and hands with myrtle paste or Mehndi. If you are a woman, you can also have your hands and feet decorated with figures of moon, suns, flowers or geometrical designs. You will also be amazed of the ghudlias which are lighted during the night. Unmarried women then dance around and sing songs while carrying the ghudlias on their heads. On their way, they gather small presents such as sweets, ghee, jiggery, oil, and cash. This continues up to the tenth day when they break their pots and throw them into a tank or well.
The climax of the Gangaur Festival, Jaipur is during the last three days when the images of Isar and Gauri are dressed in new garments. Both married and unmarried women decorate the images to make them look like living figures. You can watch the procession in the garden in the afternoon and hear the songs of the women. After offering water during the first two days, the procession comes back and the women say goodbye to Gauri. This marks the end of the festival. Another famous feature of the festival is the ghewar which is a sweet dish. You can buy ghewar and either eat or distribute it among your relatives and friends.