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Gowri Habba is an important festival celebrated especially in the South Karnataka area, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In the Northern parts of India, this festival is known as Hartalika. Gowri Habba is celebrated one day before the Ganesh Chaturthi puja. Gowri here refers to the Goddess Parvati who is the mother of Lord Ganesha and Lord Subramanya (Karthikey). Habba in Kannada means festival. This year the festival will be observed on September 12, 2018.
On the day of the Gowri Habba, Goddess Gowri is worshipped with great devotion. Goddess Gowri is believed to be the incarnation of the ultimate source of power, Adi Shakti. It is said that if one worships Goddess Gowri with full faith and devotion, She blesses the devotee with courage and immense power.
The Swarna Gowri Vratha is performed to appease the Goddess on this auspicious occasion of Gowri Habba. Let us have a look at the few rituals which one must perfrom on this festival:
1. Firstly the idol of Goddess Gowri is brought home, a day before the Gowri Habba. It is believed that Goddess Gowri comes to her father's house during this time. So, She is welcomed in every house with great fervour and enthusiasm.
2. On the day of the Gowri Habba, the women dress up in their traditional attire and make either a symbolic idol of 'jalagauri' or 'arishinadagauri' with turmeric. Then the Goddess is invoked by chanting the mantras.
3. Then the idol of the Goddess is placed on a layer of rice or cereals spread in a plate.
4. The puja is to be performed with complete cleanliness and devotion. One must abstain from negative thoughts or feelings. We should abstain from non- vegetarian food as well.
5. A 'mandapa' or a canopy is built with banana stems and mango leaves around the idol. The idol is decorated with beautiful flower garlands and cotton.
6. Women are supposed to tie a sixteen knot thread on their wrist known as the 'Gauridaara' as a mark of Goddess' blessings.
7. As part of the vrata, an offering known as the 'baagina' is prepared. Baagina is a collection of different items such as the turmeric, kumkum, black bangles, black beads, a comb, a small mirror, coconut, blouse piece, cereals, rice, lentils, wheat and jaggery. Five baaginas are prepared as a part of the vratha.
8. One of the baagina is offered to the Goddess and the rest of the baaginas are distributed to married women.
9. Then the Goddess is offered sweets such as the Holige or Obbathu, payasam.
After these celebrations of the Gowri Habba, the next day the idol of Lord Ganesha is brought home and worshipped. Then the celebrations continue for ten days and on the last day all the idols are immersed in water.