Main Attraction:- Reverence of Lord Shiv and Goddess Parvati
Overview/History:- Gangaur festival of Rajasthan is celebrated in reverence to Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati. It derives its name from the words ‘Gan’ and ‘Gauri’, the former is another name for Shiv while the latter is used to address Parvati. The festival centers around women and all the rituals to be followed are observed by them. The festival is held in the month of ‘Chaitra’ as per the Hindu calendar. The festival rituals commence the day after Holi.
Celebration:- The festival celebrates the union of Shiva and Parvati which gives young girls and boys an occasion to interact with each other. It is an elaborate occasion and there are several rituals associated with it. These rituals include:
Collecting ash from Holika Dehan and burying seeds of wheat and barley in it and protecting them by watering till the seeds germinate.
Songs in praise of Shiv and Parvati are sung by women who also carry pots on their heads.
Women make clay images of both Shiva and Parvati.
A procession is taken by young girls and all of them place an earthern pot with holes and lamp inside on their heads. They distribute cash and other gifts on their way.
The final day of the festival sees images of Gauri being taken out in a procession accompanied by camels, bullock carts, horses and elephants. The procession is symbolic of return of Gauri to her husband’s (Shiv’s) home.
To mark the end of the procession, the girls break their pots.
Apart from these rituals, newly married women fast for the whole eighteen days of the festival and even unmarried women fast and eat only one meal a day in the hope to find a good husband. During this festival in Jaipur, a popular sweet dish called ‘Ghewar’ is distributed between families, relatives and friends.