Non-Traditional Gudhi Padwa

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March 17, 2010 by ritadate

Happy New Year! Gudhi Padwa is the beginning of the New Year for Maharashtrians as well as other Indian communities. It is the time to celebrate with hanging a “Gudhi” outside the house to bring peace and prosperity to the home. A Gudhi is a bright green or yellow cloth adorned with zari tied to the tip of a long bamboo over which gathi (sugar crystals), neem leaves, a twig of mango leaves and a garland of red flowers are tied. It symbolizes victory – the victory of Ram over Ravana and the victory of Shivaji over the Moghuls.
Shrikhand, pooranpoli or jelebi are the sweets for the day and the time is spent catching up with family or purchasing something new for the house. It is not the best time to go shopping for those who do not like crowds. Electronic shops, jewelry shops, two-wheeler showrooms and are packed with people buying something on this auspicious day.

My cook had made an amazing prawn curry and fried fish the previous night. We unexpectedly had a dinner invitation so all that food was leftover. Theoretically one is not supposed to eat meat on this day but I figured wasting so much food was also not the right way to begin the year either.

We enjoyed the meal; no one was dissatisfied. I microwaved the fish just until the cold was shaken out then reheated it on the tawa. It tasted as though it was made the same day. It was only my husband and kids, most extended family members are busy either because they are in the middle of board exams or they are out shopping in the crazy crowds.

Pleasing everyone with the right Indian sweet is more tricky, there is always one family member that does not like this or that. Of course my family did slowly exhibit their sweet tooth a few minutes after dinner, politely asking what was for dessert, for which I had strawberries and cream ready. And for the pure Maharashtrian Brahmin in the family, my husband, I had some pooranpoli on hand which he devoured with milk. Some traditions never change.

All in all a peaceful food day…healthy food served, nothing wasted, and everyone happy.

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