Gangaur (गणगौर) is a colourful festival celebrated in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
‘Gangaur’ is derived from Gan which means Isarji (Lord Shiva), and Gauri, Goddess Parvati, who symbolizes Saubhagya (marital bliss). The unmarried women worship Parvati so that they are blessed with a good husband, while married women worship Parvati for the welfare, health and long life of their husbands and for a happy married life.
Gangaur is celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm in Jaipur and Rajasthan.
Clay idols of Gangaur, Isarji, Kanu, Rova and Malan are made by the local potter they are decorated and placed in a basket with grass and flowers.
For 16 days Gangaur is worshipped by unmarried girls with a desire to get a handsome, loving and noble partner. Married women join them on the final and last day. Besides praying for a suitable match the girls pray and ask for blessings for their brothers. The women dress up gorgoeusly as the prayer goes -if you are well dressed while praying you will be granted a well dressed husband…to each her own.
And finally the day of departure comes and Gangaur leaves he mother’s place there is the longing for her return the next year. For 16 days every morning and evening songs are sung some tell a Mahadev Gora(Parvati) story, some express wishes and some depict the fun relation of jija (brother- in- law) and sali where Mahadev or Isarji is the jija and we the worshippers are his salis(sister-in-law).
The Shiva Parvati folk stories, interestingly revolve around basic human tendencies. Shiva and Parvati are divine powers who can change the course of events. Shiva is depicted as handsome but not well dressed, mature, patient, sensable and far sighted person. Whereas Parvati is depicted as a extremely beautiful very impulsive impatient impractical person. Both partners are extremely romantic and loyal. All the wisdom of Shiva is left aside as he actually does exactly what his lady commands. Even though Shiva warns Parvati she always refuses to oblige. And Shiva waits no further and bows to her wishes. Parvati is of course unhappy with the consequences of her decisions and Shiva reminds her of his warnings and Parvati realises her mistake.
Gauri goes to her Mother’s home, and Mahadevji goes after her