Revving up for a good year

Women dressed in traditional costumes ride motorbikes during celebrations to mark the Gudi Padwa festival in Mumbai yesterday.

Gudi Padwa is a harvest festival that marks the beginning of the New Year for Maharashtrians. It is celebrated in India's Maharashtra state and in Konkan areas.

It is considered an auspicious day that indicates the onset of spring and the reaping of rabi crops which were sown in winter, such as wheat, barley, mustard, sesame and peas.

To celebrate, Maharashtrians decorate their houses and make colourful rangoli.

A special Gudi flag, generally yellow or red in colour, is also made and garlanded with flowers and mango and neem leaves. It is topped with an upturned silver or copper vessel, signifying victory and achievement.

The flag is believed to ward off evil, and invite prosperity and good luck into the house.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2018, with the headline 'Revving up for a good year'. Print Edition | Subscribe