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Gauri Vrat - Five Days Fasting Festival For Girls And Ladies In Gujarat In Memory of The Eternal Love of Shiva-Paarvati

Vanita Thakkar is an Entrepreneur - an Engineer-Researcher-Consultant and an Artist - Singer-Composer-Poetess-Writer from Vadodara, Gujarat.

gauri-vrat-five-days-fasting-festival-for-girls-and-ladies-in-gujarat-in-memory-of-the-eternal-love-of-shiva-parvati

Aashaadhh - The Rainy Month of Festivals

The month of Aashaadhh, as per the Hindu (Lunar) calendar, falling in the rainy season, during the months of June-July, brings along festivals and celebrations.

On the second day of the Shukla Paksha (the fortnight from Amaavasya - New Moon to Poornima - Full Moon), called Dwitiya in Sanskrit and other Indian languages, or Dooj in Hindi (Beej in Gujarati), the Chariot Festival, called Ratha Yaatraa is celebrated. The idols of Shree Krishna as Lord Jagannath, along with those of sister Subhadra and elder brother Balaram or Balabhadra from the famous Jagannath Temple of Puri in Odisha are taken for a ride around the city in specially decorated chariots on this day. They Deities visit the Temples of their maternal relatives and return to their majestic Abode at the Jagannath Temple. Special Pooja and rituals take place and hymns and other artistic offerings are presented to Lord Jagannath with great enthusiasm and devotion, filling the atmosphere with joy, festivities and devotion. The traditions of these celebrations have spread beyond Odisha, into different places all across India and abroad, like Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Kolkata, Dharmai (Bangladesh), different parts of the USA and so on.

Jagannath Rath Yatra ....

Jagannath Rath Yatra ....

Gauri Vrat

When is Gauri Vrat celebrated ?

Eleven days after the Ratha Yaatraa Festival, on the Trayodashi or thirteenth day of the Shukla Paksha of the same month, a Five Days Fasting Festival called the Gauri Vrat is celebrated in Gujarat, in memory of the Eternal Love of Lord Shiva and Goddess Paarvati.

Little girls, sometimes as young as four or five years old girls very enthusiastically observe fasts for five days, perform pooja and enjoy the celebrations especially meant for them during the festival.

The Eternal Love Story of Shiva and Paarvati ....

The Eternal Love Story of Shiva and Paarvati ....

Gauri or Gaur Maa ....

Gauri or Gaur Maa is worshipped as Jawaaraa or saplings of (seven) grains grown in a small bamboo basket. The seven grains are - Paddy, Wheat, Barley, Sorghum, Bean, Pigeon Pea and Sesame. These grains, considered as auspicious, are sown in a tiny bamboo basket about seven days before the commencement of the festival in cow-dung manure and nurtured to grow into beautiful saplings.

How is Gaur Maa worshipped ?

The Gaur Maa is worshipped everyday in the morning and evening by lighting lamps and incense sticks and offering Kumkum, Abir, Gulaal, Turmeric Powder, flowers and other auspicious pooja material, singing songs and hymns while performing the Pooja and offering Prasaad.

Gauri or Gaur Maa ....

Gauri or Gaur Maa ....

How are the fasts observed ?

During the Gauri Vrat the girls observe fasts, eating selected food, which does not contain salt.

Fruits, pure juices, dry fruits, milk and curd preparations, such as Shreekhand and other sweets can be taken.

During the first four days, once in a day, something prepared from wheat can be taken, such as roti or puri or pancakes or bhajia. Specially during these days, a salty green leafy vegetable is available which is allowed to be eaten along with the wheat meal.

On the last day, no wheat item or salty vegetable is allowed - only fruits and milk can be taken.

Little Girls enjoying their Prasaad with Gaur Maa ....

Little Girls enjoying their Prasaad with Gaur Maa ....

Jaagaran on the Fifth Day ....

On the last and fifth day, there is Jaagaran during night, which means the girls remain awake for the whole night. They play, sing and dance, go to nearby places like gardens, temples, etc.

Now a days, watching movies has become popular.

Video games, mobile games are also available to spend time.

Family members also remain awake with the girls and it turns out to be a great fun and merriment time.

gauri-vrat-five-days-fasting-festival-for-girls-and-ladies-in-gujarat-in-memory-of-the-eternal-love-of-shiva-parvati

Celebrations ....

Gauri Vrat is a festival of happiness. The girls decorate their hands with Mehndi, wear colourful clothes and jewelry, sing and dance, and play games, go to parks and gardens and so on ....

During Gauri Vrat days, special arrangements are made in the public places to ensure that the girls get to enjoy without hassles.

In gardens and parks and cinema halls, only girls and ladies are allowed.

Gardens, cinema halls, and other such places of entertainment and infotainment are kept open till late hours and all through the night on the Jaagaran day for them to enjoy without restrictions.

Special arrangements for free fruits, dry fruits, juices and sweets are made by various institutions and reputed families in the village / town / localities for the girls observing the Gauri Vrat fasts.

My mother tells about and sings special Garba and Folk songs on Gaur Maa. Now a days, we don't get to hear those songs ....

I could locate the video of an old song - Gaur Maa No Var Kesariyo Ne .... from the famous Gujarati film Sonbai Nee Chundadee, showing celebrations of Gauri Vrat in a village ....

Gaur Maa No Var Kesariyo ....

Singing and dancing ....

Singing and dancing ....

Bidding Farewell to Gaur Maa ....

The day after the Jaagaran day, that is on the sixth day, the Gaur Maa is given a festive farewell. The final pooja is performed. Traditionally, a group of all girls in a village or locality and their family members join together to form a farewell procession for their Gaur Maa to be taken to the nearby water source, like lake or river, with singing, dancing and merriments. Finally, in a ceremony called Visarjan, the Gaur Maa is reverentially immersed in the lake or river water.

After returning home, the girls are served special delicacies of their choice to open their fasts and return back to usual routine.

Gauri Pooja ....

Gauri Pooja ....

Gauri Vrat Udyaapan Ceremony ....

The Gauri Vrat is done for minimum five and maximum any further odd number of years.

On the last year of the Gauri Vrat, special Udyaapan Ceremony (ritualistic ending of the Vrat) is performed, in which at least five or more odd number of girls doing Gauri Vrat are invited for opening their fasts. The girls are served delicious feast of their choice and given gifts as memories.

The Divine Couple - Shiva and Paarvati ....

The Divine Couple - Shiva and Paarvati ....

The Jayaa Paarvati Vrat after Gauri Vrat ....

Grown up girls who are through with their Gauri Vrat, having performed the Udyaapan Ceremony, observe the Jayaa Paarvati Vrat.

The procedure is same, except that the Gaur Maa or Jawaaraa - the seven grain saplings are not grown.

The girls go every morning to the nearby Shiva Temple and worship Shiva and Paarvati there. They hear the Kathaa or the Tale of the Divine Love of Shiva and Paarvati at the temple.

After minimum five years or further any number of odd years, such as seven or nine or eleven years, the Udyaapan Ceremony of Jayaa Paarvati Vrat is celebrated in the same way as it is done for the Gauri Vrat.

Significance of Gauri Vrat ....

In the Hindu traditions, fasts are observed to develop the quality called Samyam (most closely translated to English as tolerance or patience or a combination of both).

The girls, and along with them their families get to learn family and social values through the example of Shiva and Paarvati. The Shiva family is an ideal family. Shiva is known as Mahadev - the God of Gods. Shiva is the first Guru - the Aadi Guru and the first Yogi - the Aadi Yogi. Paarvati is the manifestation of Aadyashakti - Mother of the Universe. Their elder son Kartikeya is the commander of the Army of Gods and younger son Ganesha is the God of Knowledge and Wisdom, the God of Beginnings, Leadership and Collectivity, the Remover of obstacles.

It is believed that the girls are blessed with success in their future family lives in the form of a life-partner of their dreams and choice and a happy marriage by observing the Gauri Vrat and the Jayaa Paarvati Vrat.

The Shiva Family ....

The Shiva Family ....

Guru Poornima ....

During Gauri Vrat, the third day is the Full Moon day - the Poornima - which is celebrated as Guru Poornima - a festival for expressing gratitude, reverence and devotion to the Guru - the (Spiritual) Mentor or Guide or Teacher, who imparts knowledge and dispels darkness of ignorance.

gauri-vrat-five-days-fasting-festival-for-girls-and-ladies-in-gujarat-in-memory-of-the-eternal-love-of-shiva-parvati

© 2021 Vanita Thakkar

Comments

Vanita Thakkar (author) on July 23, 2021:

Thanks, Vidyaji for your visit and nice comments. Yes, it is possible because of the feeling of togetherness and the spirit of celebrations.

VIDYA D SAGAR on July 23, 2021:

A beautiful article describing the Gauri vrat festival, Vanita. It is amazing how girls of such young age fast and stay awake all night along with the elders to uphold the tradition. Thanks for sharing.

Vanita Thakkar (author) on July 22, 2021:

An update to the article -

I added the link to the video of an old song - Gaur Maa No Var Kesariyo .... from the famous Gujarati film - Sonbai Nee Chundadee, showing celebrations of Gauri Vrat in a village ....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t48NdvBU48

Vanita Thakkar (author) on July 21, 2021:

Thanks, Misbah. Nice to hear from you. Happy Guru Poornima to you too.

Vanita Thakkar (author) on July 21, 2021:

Thanks, dear Peggy. I am happy you that you are enjoying being introduced to these beautiful traditions.

It is fun remaining awake all night amidst festivities. Jaagaran - staying awake all night - is a part of several Hindu festivals and has its own spiritual benefits. However, now a days, it has not remained as so much of a compulsion.

Sleeping past midnight for those who find it difficult to accommodate schedules for the following day is considered permissible.

Little girls often fall asleep in the lap of their parents or elders.

Vanita Thakkar (author) on July 21, 2021:

Thanks, Chitrangadaji. Your comments always give a sense of accomplishment.

My Pranaams to you on Guru Poornima.

Vanita Thakkar (author) on July 21, 2021:

Thanks, Bill. So happy to hear from you.

Vanita Thakkar (author) on July 21, 2021:

Thanks, Brother Manatita for reading and commenting. Always love your comments.

It is a great treat to be a part of this festival and a great joy to be able to share it’s beauty here.

Happy Guru Poornima.

Vanita Thakkar (author) on July 21, 2021:

Thanks, MG Singhji. Much appreciated.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on July 21, 2021:

Thank you for sharing this information about Gauri vrat festival, Vanita. Happy Guru Purnima to you. Stay happy and healthy.

Blessings always

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 21, 2021:

Thanks for explaining those festivals and their meaning to those of us who are unfamiliar with them. Staying up all night for girls of those young ages must be an adventure!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 21, 2021:

A very nice description of the Gauri vrat festival, with beautiful pictures of the little girls.

Celebrating festivals from a young age, introduces the children to our glorious Indian heritage, traditions, and culture. They learn to respect and preserve the rich traditions.

I liked your reference to the Rath yatra and Guru Purnima as well. Shubh Guru Purnima to you.

Beautifully done article. Thank you for sharing.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 21, 2021:

It is always interesting to learn about other cultures. Thank you for this tutorial.

manatita44 from london on July 21, 2021:

A lot here, and very colourful, but you portray the richness and traditions of the young and elders excellently! The verdure and opulence of the festivity shines though. Happy Guru Purnima!

MG Singh emge from Singapore on July 21, 2021:

This is a very fine article Vanita and I congratulate you on it. You are doing a great service to the Hindu religion by showing the positive side to the world. Thanks for sharing.

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