Gowri Habba is a Hindu festival celebrated a day before Ganesh Chaturthi. It is a significant festival in parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Tamil Nadu.
Goddess Gowri, the mother of Lord Ganesha and wife of Lord Shiva, is worshiped throughout India for her ability to bestow upon her devotees courage & power.The ‘Vrat’ is mainly observed by married women. Godess Gowri is the symbolization of Soumangalya. Hence all married women and young girls of marriageable age offer prayers every year for Dheerga (long ) soumangalya.
Performance of Gowri Pooja
Gowri vrata is observed on the third day of the bright half of the month of Bhadrupada.It is believed that on Thadige, or the third day of the month of Bhaadrapada, Goddess Gowri comes home like any married girl comes to her parents’ house.The next day Lord Ganesha, her son, comes as if to take her back to Kailasa.This day is celebrated as Ganesh Chaturthi. Newly wed couples are invited to the in-laws home, and served with varieties of Festive Food.
The pooja also provides an occasion to recognize mother, sisters and in general women folk. Godess Gowri is the symbolization of Soumangalya.Goddess Gowri comes home like any married girl comes to her parents’ house.
On the Gowri Habba day, the house is cleaned thoroughly. After bathing married women and young girls in the family dress up neatly.A small temporary shrine is erected using banana leaves and banana stem. This is decorated with mango leaves, turmeric, tulsi and sandalwood paste.Then they do the ‘sthapana’ of either jala-gauri or arishinada-gauri (a symbolic idol of Gowri made of turmeric).
Nowadays beautifully painted and decorated clay idols of Goddess Gowri can be bought at the local market.The Gauri is decorated with garlands, decorations made of cotton and ladies get their ‘gauridaara’ (a sacred thread with 16 knots ) tied to their right wrists, as blessings of gauri and as part of the vratha. The gauridaara has 16 knots and each knot is worshipped with mantras, during the performance of the vratha.