Mangala Gauri is one of the important celebrations for the newly married brides in Maharashtra. India is a land of Cultural Diversity and different rituals are performed by both men and women which varies from state to state and region to region. Mangala Gauri Pooja or Mangala Gauri Vrat is observed on Tuesdays (Mangalvar) in the month of Shravan (a period between July and August).
Shravana Month and Mangala Gauri Pooja
Shravan Month is observed in Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar. It is called Avani in Tamil Scriptures and the fifth month of the solar year. Each day during the Shravan month is auspicious in the worship of Shiva (Shambhu). Prayers and Vedic rituals are performed in Shiva temples to please him.
Newly married bride observes the Mangala Gauri Vrata and does pooja on Shravan Mangalvars. This is a Vrata/Pooja believed to be for a long and happy married life as well as the well being of the new family. The very first Mangala Gauri Pooja is supposed to be the most important one. This Vrata is dedicated to the Goddess Parvathi who is the Mangala Gauri.
The brides observe fasting and do pooja. The room where the pooja is done (usually the pooja room) is sanctified and an idol of Devi Gauri is made with a coconut. It is decorated with silk saree, gold and/or silver ornaments and Haldi-Kumkum (Turmeric and Vermillion) is applied. This is known as Mangala Gauri Alankar. Some people use Photos and Idols of Devi instead of coconut. The idol or the picture is placed on a wooden platform wrapped in red cloth.
Number 16 is auspicious for various poojas and offerings. Hence garlands, ladus, fruits, betel leaves, betel nuts, bangles (each 16 numbers) and a saree are used for Mangala Gauri Pooja. Five types of cereals, jeera, coriander, cloves and cardamom are offered sixteen times. Mangala Gauri Aarti is performed in the end.
After the offering, the ladies read or listen to the story of Mangala Gauri Vrata. 16 ladus are offered to the Mother-in-law and Sisters-in-law. Rest of the prasad is offered to Brahmins. The idol is immersed (visarjan) in a pond or lake, next day after the pooja. Mangala Gauri Vrat and Pooja is performed for five consecutive years for the happiness and well being of the family.
A musical get-together, known as Mangalgaur is arranged of friends and family members. There will be Dance, Games and Ukhane sessions organized during Mangalgaur. Ukhane is a Maharashtrian custom where the wife introduces her husband’s name in a poetic language or including rhyming words. Traditional Clap Dance (Jhimma), Fugadi (going round by joining hands) and Antakshari (Bhendya) are played overnight until early morning next day.
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