The arrival of Vernal Equinox or Spring Equinox has always been very significant in the lives of humans all over the world.Most of the ancient cultures have some kind of celebrations during such Equniox. This practice of different customs and rituals around the world though looks something completely unrelated but still has a lot of scientific base to it. Let’s look deeply in some of these traditions to find the real answers
India especially we Maharashtrians and even Konkani’s celebrate Gudi Padwa during this time of Equinox.. The word ‘padwa’ is derived from Pratipada, the first day of a lunar month or the first day after no moon day (Amavasya). Being the first day of the first month of a year, Gudi padwa is the New Year's day for Maharashtrians. The raising of the Gudi , a small vessel keeping it upside down on the a stick with silky cloth and some leaves has its own significance .What I do not like is the part where you are supposed to eat the Bitter Neem with Jaggery or ajawain seeds or even tamarind .As young kid I used to always be obnoxious about those bitter sweets during such a nice festival . Why this such bitter recipe during the start of the new year ?
To understand this specific ritual , we would try to take a small peek at the atmosphere and the seasonal changes during those time and how would those changes affect us in general . This is the beginning of the spring … Winter has been a great time with lot of coolness in the air, suddenly as spring arrives the atmosphere starts getting warmer slowly and slowly . The sun’s rays increase in intensity, going from mellow to hot. The body up till now was full of energy and withlot of appetitesuddenly due to this change of season we could see the appetite suddenly being reduced. Many people who have low immunity suffering with cold , cough , fever . People with history of Asthma would suddenly have bouts of those attacks during this time. Yes one day was cooler , lot nicer and suddenly it has changed .
According to the ancient system of medicine Ayurveda this is the time of the year when the build up Kapha (Read Kapha Imbalance) starts to get out from the body due to the heat of the sun and starts to create issues in the body . Remember during those nice winter days we used to eat a lot , Diwali , Christmas , lot of sweets , fresh fruits ….what happen to them . Yes this sweets and lots of nice fruits and the cool season has made a huge amount of Kapha to be stored in the body .Even in an healthy person you could find some this changes seen too
To fight this changes here comes the custom of eating this bitter Neem . Gudi Padwa being the first day for the sun to start heating itself in the earth’s Atmosphere would be the right time to have this Neem in our body.
Neem by itself is known all over the world for its Blood purifying action , immune builder , But do you know this neem to be helpful to even for fighting this excess Kapha that has been starting to build up in our system .The jaggery though sweet has its own value for heating our internal system thus helping the action of this neem to work in removing the excess Kapha .And yes who does not want an immune builder during such times when season changes ,were the immunity by itself has been on a low tract . On a complete different perspective Life is full of sorrow and Happiness, one comes and the other goes .A new year is such that we tend to forget everything and enjoy it, but still just for a simple reminder that not everything you see is always in a state of Happiness do not you think this small custom of Neem leaves as a bitter sweet. Think on that please..
Lastly as I was surfing though different reference regarding to Neem with regards to it properties, I came upon this site which I though you should definitely have a peek into. http://www.neemfoundation.org/. The most interesting part which found is its very easy to grow a neem tree even in your garden with out knowing which type of soil your garden has,.has it been watered or not … Yes Neem requires really less amount of water for survival …Thus even drought regions of ours like Osmanabad , Nanded all over the highways you would find nice beautiful green Neem trees .
So on this New year day as We all wish you Happy Gudi Padwa , Please do not forget to eat those nice little bitter leaves that you get .