|Also called||Gowri Festival|
|Type||Cultural, Seasonal, Religious|
|Begins||Bhadrapada shukla Tritiya|
|Date||Varies per Hindu Lunisolar calendar|
|2017 date||24 August|
|Part of a series on|
This festival celebrates the goddess Gowri or Gauri, (also known as Parvati) who is venerated as the mother of Ganesha. It is usually observed by married women and is a significant festival in parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It is known as Hartalika in the North Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Gowri, the mother of Ganesha and wife of Shiva, is worshipped throughout India for her ability to bestow upon her devotees courage and power. Hindu belief has it that Gowri is the incarnation of Aadhi Shakthi Mahamaya. She is the Shakthi of Shiva. It is believed that on Thadige, or the third day of the month of Bhaadra, Gowri comes home like any married woman comes to her parents' house. The next day Ganesha, her son, comes as if to take her back to Kailasa.
The Swarna Gowri vratha is performed on the occasion to appease the goddess.
Swarna Gowri vratha rituals
On this day, married women, after bathing, wear new or smart clothes and dress up the girls of the family. Then they do the 'sthapana' of either jalagauri or arishinadagauri (a symbolic idol of Gowri made of turmeric). Painted and decorated clay idols of Gowri can be bought at the local market. The goddess' idol is mounted in a plate, with a cereal (rice or wheat) in it. As this puja or ritual is to be performed with 'suchi' (cleanliness) and 'shraddhe' (dedication), the women go to temples or to another person's house, where it is performed according to set procedures or they can perform the ritual in their own homes.
A mantapa, generally decorated with banana stem and mango leaves, is built around the idol. The Gowri is decorated with garlands, decorations made of cotton, and women have a 'gauridaara' (sacred thread with sixteen knots) tied to their right wrists, as blessings of gauri and as part of the vratha. Each of the sixteen knots is worshipped with mantras during the performance of the religious practice.
An offering of baagina occurs during the festival. At least five baaginas are prepared as part of the vratha. Each baagina usually contains a packet of arshina (turmeric), kumkum, black bangles, black beads (used in the mangalsutra), a comb, a small mirror, baLe bicchoLe, coconut, blouse piece, dhaanya (cereal), rice, toor dal, green dal, wheat or rava and jaggery cut in a cube form. The baagina is offered in a traditional mora (winnow painted with turmeric). One such baagina is offered to Gowri and set aside. The remaining Gowri baaginas are given to the married women.
Gauri habbada mangaladravya
Another speciality of this festival is that the 'tavaru maneyavaru' (the married woman's parents and brothers) send gauri habbada mangaladravya to the married women of their family. Some send money as a substitute for mangaladravya. This good practice remains unchanged and keeps people closer. Newlymarried women give sixteen jothe baagina to sumangalis (married women) and obtain their blessings. One baagina is kept for Gauramma. The main food items in this festival's feast are the delectable beLe hoLige/Kaayee-hoLige, Huggi/chitranna and Bajji.
Newlywed couples are invited to the house of their in-laws and served with festive food. In the olden days, newly-wed couples had to wait till Gowri Habba to consummate their marriage. The logic behind this practice is that if a child is conceived during Gowri Habba, which falls during the winter, the child would be born nine months later, during the summer, when it would be less prone to infections. This practice has been in place for years but has declined in recent times due to modernisation and wide contraceptive options.