Gangaur is all about honoring the goddess Gauri. A manifestation of Parvati (Lord Shiva's wife), she
represents purity and austerity.
Gangaur signifies Lord Shiva and Parvati together. It's believed that Parvati returned to her parental home during Gangaur, to bless her friends with marital bliss. On the last day, Parvait was given a grand farewell by her loved ones and Lord Shiva arrived to escort her home.
When is Gangaur Celebrated:
In 2011, Gangaur will be celebrated on April 6-7. However, festival rituals commence the day after Holi.
Where is Gangaur Celebrated:
Gangaur is celebrated all over Rajasthan, and is one of the state's most important festivals. The most notable celebrations take place in Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, and Nathdwara. In Udaipur, Gangaur coincides with the Mewar Festival.
How is Gangaur 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 couple of days, 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 pagentry 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:
All newly married women must fast for the whole 18 days of the festival. Even unmarried women fast and only eat one meal a day, in the hope of finding a good husband. 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.
In Jaipur, a sweet dish called ghewar is popularly distributed amongst friends and relatives.