Gangaur is made of two words, Gana & Gaur, where the word Gana is the other name of Lord Shiva while the word Gaur indicates Goddess Parvati or Gauri, a symbol of Saubhagya, meaning matrimonial bliss!
An imperative festival of vibrant Rajasthan, Gangaur is celebrated in the honour of Goddess Gauri – the companion of Lord Shiva. It commences on the day after holi and goes on for a total of 18 days. Often believed as the symbol of virtue, the women folk of Rajasthan consider Gauri as main idol of the married women. The festival’s custom demands a newly-married woman to observe a complete course of fasting for about 18 days until the day of the festival to make sure her matrimony thrives. During this period, idols of Goddess Gauri and Lord Shiva are dressed up in vibrant attires and heavy embellished jewellery, synonymous with the state of Rajasthan.
The revelries of Gangaur Festival start with Rajasthani womenfolk worshipping the deity throughout the night prior to the main festival. Dressed up in beautiful, colourful outfits, these women wear henna on their hands and worship Goddess Gauri for the well being of their life partners.
The celebrations come to an end with the immersion of Idols into the lake water, post which everyone feasts on rich Rajasthani food and especially a sweetend dish Ghewar. Another interesting ritual in this festival is observed by the Girasia tribe of Rajasthan. They go from one village to the other singing and dancing. During this auspicious time, eligible boys and girls of the tribe choose their life partners and elope with them, that too with the consent of their society! And you thought Indian superstitions are old school? Think again.