The MARATHI PEOPLE (Marathi : मराठी लोक) are an
Indo-Aryan ethnic group that speak the
Marathi language and inhabit
the state of
Maharashtra as well as districts bordering the state such
as Belgaon and
Goa states in
India . Their language, Marathi , is part of the group of
Indo-Aryan languages . The community came in to political prominence
in the 17th century when
Maratha warriors under
Maratha Empire , which is credited to a large extent
for ending the Mughal rule.
* 1 History
* 1.1 History from ancient to Medieval Period
* 1.2.1 political history
* 1.2.2 Social history
* 1.3 British colonial rule
* 1.4 Modern Period since Indian Independence in 1947
* 2 Castes and communities
* 2.2 Non-
* 3 Marathi Diaspora
* 3.1 In other Indian states
* 3.2 Outside
* 4 Culture
* 4.1 Religion
* 4.3 Festivals observed by Other Communities
* 4.3.1 Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din
Christmas or Naataal (Marathi:नाताळ)
* 4.4 Food
* 4.5 Attire
* 4.6 Literature
* 4.6.1 Ancient Marathi Inscriptions
* 22.214.171.124 Classical Literature
* 126.96.36.199 Modern Marathi Literature
* 5 Martial tradition
* 6 See also
* 7 Footnotes
* 8 References
* 9 External links
HISTORY FROM ANCIENT TO MEDIEVAL PERIOD
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Maratha Armory Signature
Maratha helmet with curved back.
Maratha Armour from Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia.
During ancient period around 230 BC
Maharashtra came under the rule
Satavahana dynasty which ruled the region for 400 years. The
greatest ruler of the Satavahana Dynasty was Gautami putra Satakarni .
Vakataka dynasty ruled
Maharashtra from the 3rd century to the 5th
Chalukya dynasty ruled
Maharashtra from the 6th century
to the 8th century and the two prominent rulers were
Pulakeshin II ,
who defeated the north Indian Emperor Harsh and
Vikramaditya II , who
defeated the Arab invaders in the 8th century. The Rashtra kuta
Maharashtra from the 8th to the 10th century. The Arab
traveler Sulaiman called the ruler of the Rashtrakuta Dynasty
Amoghavarsha ) as "one of the 4 great kings of the world". From the
early 11th century to the 12th century the
Deccan Plateau was
dominated by the
Western Chalukya Empire and the
Chola dynasty . The
Seuna dynasty , also known as the Yadav dynasty ruled
the 13th century to the 14th century. The Yadavas were defeated by
the Khiljis in 1321. After the Yadav defeat, the area was ruled for
the next 300 years by a succession of
Muslim rulers including (in
chronological order): the Khiljis , the Tughlaqs , the Bahamani
Sultanate and its successor states such as
Adilshahi and Nizamshahi
and the Mughal Empire. Territory under
Maratha control in 1760
(yellow), without its vassals.
In the mid-17th century,
Shivaji Maharaj (1630–1680) founded the
Maratha Empire by conquering the Desh and the
Konkan region from the
Adilshahi , and established Hindavi Swaraj ("self-rule of Hindu
people" ). The Marathas are credited to a large extent for ending the
Mughal rule in India. After Shivaji's death, the Mughals, who had
lost significant ground to the Marathas under Shivaji, invaded
Maharashtra in 1681. Shivaji's son
Sambhaji and successor as
Chhatrapati led the Marathas valiantly against the much stronger
Mughal opponent but in 1689, after being betrayed, he was captured,
and then tortured and killed by Mughal emperor,
Aurangzeb . The war
against the Mughals was then led by the Sambhaji's younger brother and
Rajaram Chhatrapati . Upon Rajaram's death in 1700, his
Tarabai took command of
Maratha forces and won many battles
against the Mughals. In 1707, upon the death of
Aurangzeb , the War of
27 years between the much weakened Mughals and Marathas came to an
Shahu, the grandson of Shivaji, with the help of capable Maratha
administrators and generals such as the
Balaji Vishwanath and
his descendents saw the greatest expansion of
Shahu's death in 1749, the
Peshwa Nanasaheb and his successors became
the virtual rulers of the empire. The empire was expanded by many
Peshwa Bajirao Ballal I and his descendants, the
Nagpur and the
Holkars . The
empire at its peak stretched from
Tamil Nadu in the south, to Peshawar
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ) in the north, and Bengal in the
Pune under the
Peshwa became the imperial seat with envoys,
ambassadors and royals coming in from far and near. However, after the
Third battle of Panipat
Third battle of Panipat in which the Marathas were defeated by Ahmed
Shah Abdali , the Empire broke up into many independent kingdoms. Due
to the efforts of
Mahadji Shinde , it remained a confederacy until the
India Company defeated
Bajirao II . Nevertheless,
Maratha states remained as vassals of the British until 1947
when they acceded to the Dominion of
The Marathas also developed a potent Navy circa 1660s which, at its
peak, dominated the territorial waters of the western coast of India
Savantwadi . It would engage in attacking the British
, Portuguese , Dutch , and
Siddi Naval ships and kept a check on their
naval ambitions. The
Maratha Navy dominated until around the 1730s,
was in a state of decline by the 1770s, and ceased to exist by 1818.
Before the British rule,
Maharashtra region was divided in many
revenue divisions.The lowest administrative one was the village.
Village society in Marathi areas included the
Patil or the head of the
village,collector of revenue, and
Kulkarni , the village record
keeper.These were hereditary positions.The
Patil usually came from the
Kulkarni was usually from Brahhmin or
The village also used to have twelve hereditary servants called the
Balutedar.The Balutedar system was supportive to the agriculture
sector. The servants under this system provided services to the farmer
and economic system of village. The base of this system was caste. The
servant used to get job, according to their castes. There were 12
kinds of servants, called Bara Balutedar; such as
Gurav(temple priest), Nhawi(Barber), Parit(washerman),
Kumbhar(Potter), Sutar(Carpenter, Lohar(Blacksmith), Chambar(Cobbler),
Dhor, Koli(fisherman), Chougula(Assistant to Patil), Mang and Mahar.
In this list of Balutedar;Dhor, Mang,
Mahar and Chambhar were
The medieval equivalent of county or district was the
chief of the
Pargana were called
Deshmukh and record keepers were
called Deshpande. Again most
Deshmukh were from the elite Maratha
families. The Deshpande belonged to
BRITISH COLONIAL RULE
British rule over more than a century saw huge changes for Marathi
people in every aspect of their lives. Areas that correspond to
Maharashtra were under direct or indirect British rule,
first under the East
India company and then under British crown from
Marathi people during this era resided in the Bombay presidency
, Berar , Central provinces ,
Hyderabad state and in various princely
states that are currently part of the present day Maharashtra.
Significant Marathi population also resided in
Maratha princely states
Maharashtra such as Baroda , Gwalior ,
Indore , and
The British colonial period saw standardisation of Marathi grammar
through the efforts of the
Christian missionary William Carey . Carey
also published the first dictionary of Marathi in devanagari
script.The most comprehensive Marathi-English dictionary was compiled
James Thomas Molesworth and Major
Thomas Candy in 1831. The
book is still in print nearly two centuries after its publication.
Molesworth also worked on standardizing Marathi.He used Brahmins of
Pune for this task and adopted the
Sanskrit dominated dialect spoken
by this caste in the city as the standard dialect for Marathi.,
The Marathi community played an important part in the social and
religious reform movements as well as the nationalist movement of the
late 19th and early 20th centuries. Notable
Civil society bodies
founded by Marathi leaders during 19th century include the Poona
Sarvajanik Sabha , the
Prarthana samaj , the Arya Mahila Samaj and the
Satya Shodhak Samaj .The Sarvajanik sabha took active part in relief
efforts during the famine of 1875-76. The Sabha is considered the
forerunner of the
Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress established in 1885. The
most prominent personalities of Indian Nationalism in the late 19th
and early 20th century,
Gopal Krishna Gokhale
Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Bal Gangadhar Tilak
on opposite side of political spectrum were both Marathi.Tilak was
instrumental in using
Shivaji and Ganesh worship in forging a
collective Maharashtrian identity for
Marathi people The Marathi
social reformers of the colonial era include
Mahatma Jyotirao Phule ,
and his wife
Savitribai Phule ,
Justice Ranade , feminist Tarabai
Dhondo Keshav Karve ,
Vitthal Ramji Shinde , and Pandita
Ramabai . Jyotirao Phule was the pioneer in opening schools for girls
and Marathi dalits castes.
Hindu castes started organizing at beginning of 20th
century with the blessing of Chhatrapati
Shahu of Kolhapur
Shahu of Kolhapur .The
campaign took off in the early 1920s under the leadership of Keshavrao
Jedhe and Baburao javalkar. Both belonged to the Non-Brahmin
Shivaji festivals from Brahmin
domination were their early goals. They combined nationalism with
anti-casteism as the party's aims. Later on in the 1930s, Jedhe
merged the non-
Brahmin party with the Congress party and changed that
party from an upper-caste dominated body to a more broadly based but
Maratha -dominated party. Early 20th century also saw the rise
of Dr Ambedkar who led the campaign for the rights of
that included his own
Although the British originally regarded
India a place for supply of
raw materials for the factories of England, by the end of 19th century
modern manufacturing industry was developing in the city of Mumbai.
The main product was cotton and the bulk of work force in these mills
was of Marathi origin from Western
Maharashtra but more specifically
from the coastal
Konkan region The census recorded for the city in
the first half of the 20th century showed nearly half of the
population of city listed Marathi as their mother tongue,
During the period of 1835-1907, a large number of Indians including
Marathi people were taken to the island of
Mauritius as indentured
labourers to work on sugarcane plantations.The
Marathi people on the
island form the oldest diaspora of
Marathi people outside
MODERN PERIOD SINCE INDIAN INDEPENDENCE IN 1947
After India's independence in 1947, all
Princely states lying within
the borders of
Bombay Presidency acceded to Indian Union and were
integrated into the newly created
Bombay State in 1950.
The small community of Marathi Jews started in emigrating to the
newly created country of
Israel in late 1940 and early 1950s The
number of Bene
Israel remaining in
India was estimated to be around
5,000 in 1988
In 1956, the
States Reorganisation Act reorganised the Indian states
along linguistic lines, and
Bombay Presidency State was enlarged by
the addition of the predominantly Marathi -speaking regions of
Aurangabad Division ) from erstwhile
Hyderabad state and
Vidarbha region from the
Central Provinces and Berar .The enlarged
state also included Gujarati speaking areas. The southernmost part of
Bombay State was ceded to Mysore . From 1954 to 1955 the people of
Maharashtra strongly protested against bilingual
Bombay state and
Maharashtra Samiti , was formed. The Mahagujarat Movement
was started, seeking a separate
Gujarat state. A number of mainly Pune
based leaders such as
Keshavrao Jedhe ,
S.M. Joshi , Shripad Amrit
Dange , and
Pralhad Keshav Atre formed Samyukta
with Vidarbha-based leaders such as
Gopalrao Khedkar to fight for a
separate state of
Mumbai as its state capital. Mass
protests, 105 deaths, and heavy losses in the Marathi speaking areas
by the ruling Congress party in the 1957 election, led the government
under prime minister Nehru to change their policy and agree to the
protesters' demands. On 1 May 1960, the separate Marathi-speaking
state was formed by dividing earlier
Bombay State into the new states
Maharashtra and Gujarat. The city of
Mumbai was declared the
capital of the new state The state continues to have a dispute with
Karnataka regarding the districts of
Karwar with large
population of Marathi people.
The creation of
Maharashtra for the first time brought most Marathi
people under one state with the mainly rural Kunbi-
as the largest social group.This group has dominated rural economy and
politics of the state since 1960., The community accounts for 31% of
the population of Maharashtra. They dominate the cooperative
institutions and with the resultant economic power, control politics
from the village level up to the Assembly and
Lok Sabha seats., Since
the 1980s, this group has also been active in setting up private
educational institutions. Major past political figures of
Maharashtra have been from this group.
After the Maratha-
Kunbi cluster, the scheduled caste (SC) Mahars are
numerically the second biggest community among
Marathi people in
Maharashtra. Most of them embraced
Buddhism in 1956 with their leader,
the late Dr. Ambedkar . Writers from this group in 1950s and '60s
were pioneers of
The Portuguese occupied enclave of
Goa was liberated in 1962. The
main political party immediately formed after liberation was the
Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party . The party wanted
Goa to merge with
Maharashtra because of affinity between Goan Hindus and Marathi
people. However, the referendum held on this issue rejected the
merger. Later, Konkani was made the official language of
Marathi is also allowed in any government correspondence.
The 1960s also saw the establishment by
Bal Thackeray of
Shiv Sena ,
a populist sectarian party advocating the rights of
Marathi people in
the heterogeneous city of
Mumbai . Early campaigns by Shiv sena
advocated for more jobs for
Marathi people in government jobs. The
party also led a campaign against the city's South
By 1980s the party captured power on
Mumbai Corporation and in the
1990s it led the government of
Maharashtra in coalition with the BJP.
During this transition from founding to capturing power, the party
toned down its rhetoric against Non-marathi people and adopted a more
Hindu nationalist stance.
CASTES AND COMMUNITIES
Marathi people form an ethno-linguistic group that is distinct from
others in terms of its language, history, cultural and religious
practices, social structure, literature and art.
* Artisan castes. There are several artisan castes such as Lohar
(Iron-smith), Aare kshatriya known as Arya kshatriya (Aare, Aare
maratha) in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Sutar (carpenters), Mali (
florists/vegetable farmers 10,000 at the turn of the 20th century; and
in 1948—their peak in India—they numbered 20,000. At present, they
number around 60,000 in Israel,. The number of Bene
India was estimated to be around 5,000 in 1988
IN OTHER INDIAN STATES
Maratha Empire expanded across India, the Marathi population
started migrating out of
Maharashtra alongside their rulers.
Gaekwad dynastic leaders took with them a
considerable population of priests, clerks, clergymen, army men,
businessmen and workers when they emigrated. These people have settled
in various parts of
India along with their rulers since the 1700s.
Many families belonging to these groups still follow typical Marathi
traditions even though they have lived more than 1,000 kilometres (620
Maharashtra for more than 100 years.
Other people have migrated in modern times in search of jobs outside
Maharashtra. These people have also settled in almost all parts of the
country. They have set up Community organizations called Maharashtra
Mandals in many cities across the country. A national level central
organization, the Brihan
Maharashtra Mandal was formed in 1958 to
promote Marathi culture outside Maharasthtra. Several sister
organizations of the Brihan
Maharashtra Mandal have also been formed
In the 1800s, a large number of Indian people were taken to Mauritius
South Africa ,
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago ,
Jamaica , and other places in the
Caribbean to as indentured laborers
to work on sugarcane plantations. The majority of these migrants were
from the Hindustani speaking areas or from Southern
India , however,
the migrants to
Mauritius included a significant number of Marathis.
Since the state of
Israel was established in 1948, around
25,000-30,000 Jews have emigrated there, of which around 20,000 were
from the Marathi speaking Bene
Israel community of Konkan.
Indians including Marathi People have migrated to Europe and
particularly Great Britain for more than a century. The Maharashtra
Mandal of London was founded in 1932 A small number of Marathi people
also settled in
British East Africa during the colonial era. After
African Great Lakes
African Great Lakes countries of
Uganda and Tanganyka
gained independence from Britain, most of the
South Asian population
residing there, including Marathi people, migrated to the United
Kingdom, or India.
Large-scale immigration of Indians into the
United States started
Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 came into effect.
Most of the Marathi immigrants who came after 1965 were professionals
such as doctors, engineers or scientists. A second wave of immigration
took place during the I.T. boom of the 1990s and later.
Since 1990s due to the I.T. boom and because of the general ease of
Marathi people are now found in greater numbers in all corners
of the world including The United States, Australia, Canada, Gulf
countries, European countries, Japan and China.
The majority of
Marathi people are Hindus . Minorities by religion
include Muslims , Buddhists , Jains , Christians and Jews . It has
been noted by scholars that a number of Dravidian-like cultural
patterns appear among
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Hindu people celebrate most of the all
like Dasara ,
Raksha Bandhan . These are, however,
celebrated with certain Maharashtrian regional variations. Others
Ganeshotsav have a more characteristic Marathi
flavour.The Marathi, Kannada and
Telugu people follow the Deccan
Hindu calendar , which may have subtle differences with
calendars followed by other communities in India. The festivals
described below are in a chronological order as they occur during a
Shaka year, starting with Shaka new year festival of
Gudhi Padwa .
Gudi Padwa : A Gudhi is erected on Gudhi Padva The first
day of the month of
Chaitra according to the
Hindu Calendar , (usually
in March) is celebrated as Marathi new year and also as the Kannada
and Telugu new year known as
Ugadi . A victory pole or Gudi is erected
outside homes on the day. This day is considered one of the three and
half most auspicious days of the
Hindu calendar and many new ventures
and activities such as opening a new business etc. are started on this
day. The leaves of Neem or and shrikhand are a part of the cuisine of
Akshaya Tritiya : The third day of Vaishakh is celebrated as
Akshaya Tritiya. This is one of the three and a half most auspicious
days in the
Hindu Calendar and usually occurs in the month of April.
Vidharbha region, this festival is celebrated in remembrance of the
departed members of the family. The upper castes feed a
married couple on this day. The Mahars community used to celebrate it
by offering food to crows. This marks the end of the Haldi Kumkum
festival which is a get-together organised by women for women. Married
women invite lady friends, relatives and new acquaintances to meet in
an atmosphere of merriment and fun. On such occasions, the hostess
distributes bangles, sweets, small novelties, flowers, betel leaves
and nuts as well as coconuts. The snacks include kairichi panhe (raw
mango juice ) and vatli dal, a dish prepared from crushed chickpeas .
* Vat Pournima :This festival is celebrated on
(full moon day of the
Jyeshtha month in the
Hindu calendar), around
June. On this day, women fast and worship the banyan tree to pray for
the growth and strength of their families, like the sprawling tree
which lives for centuries. Married women visit a nearby tree and
worship it by tying red threads of love around it. They pray for
well-being and a long life for their husband.
Ashadhi Ekadashi :
Ashadhi Ekadashi (11th day of the month of
Ashadha , (falls in July– early August of
Gregorian calendar ) is
closely associated with the Marathi sant s
others. Twenty days before this day, thousands of Varkaris start their
Pandharpur from the resting places of the saint. For
example, in the case of Dynaneshwar, it starts from
Dynaneshwar's paduka (footwear made out of wood) in a Palakhi.
Varkaris carry tals or small cymbals in their hand, wear a Hindu
prayer beads made from tulasi around their necks and sing and dance to
the devotional hymns and prayers to
Vitthala . People all over
Maharashtra fast on this day and offer prayers in the temples. This
day marks the start of
Chaturmas (The four monsoon months, from Ashadh
to Kartik ) according to the
Hindu calendar .This is one of the most
important fasting day for Marathi
Guru Purnima ::The full moon day of the month of Ashadh is
Guru Purnima . For Hindus Guru-Shishya (teacher-student)
tradition is very important, be it educational or spiritual. Gurus are
often equated with God and always regarded as a link between the
individual and the immortal. On this day spiritual aspirants and
devotees worship Maharshi
Vyasa , who is regarded as
Guru of Gurus.
* Divyanchi Amavasya: The new moon day/last day of the month of
Ashadh/आषाढ (falls between June and July of Gregorian
Calendar) is celebrated as Divyanchi Amavasya. This new moon signifies
the end of the month of Ashadh, and the arrival of the month of
Shravan , which is considered the most pious month of the Hindu
calendar. On this day, all the traditional lamps of the house are
cleaned and fresh wicks are put in. The lamps are then lit and
worshiped. People cook a specific item called diva (literally lamp),
prepared by steaming sweet wheat dough batter and shaping it like
little lamps. They are eaten warm with ghee.
Nag Panchami :One of the many festivals in
India during which
Marathi people celebrate and worship nature. Nags (cobras ) are
worshiped on the fifth day of the month of
Shravan (around August) in
Hindu calendar. On Nagpanchami Day, people draw a nag family
depicting the male and female snake and their nine offspring or
nagkul. The nag family is worshiped and a bowl of milk and wet chandan
(sandalwood powder) offered. It is believed that the nag deity visits
the household, enjoys languishing in the moist chandan, drinks the
milk offering and blesses the household with good luck. Women put
temporary henna tattoos (mehndi ) on their hand on the previous day
and buy new bangles on Nagpanchami Day. According to folklore, people
refrain from digging the soil, cutting vegetables, frying and roasting
on a hot plate on this day while farmers do not harrow their farms to
prevent any accidental injury to snakes.In a small village named
Battis Shirala in
Maharashtra a big snake festival is held which
attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. In other parts
of Maharashtra, snake charmers are seen sitting by the roadsides or
moving from one place to another with their baskets holding snakes.
While playing the lingering melodious notes on their pungi , they
beckon devotees with their calls – Nagoba-la dudh de Mayi (give milk
to the cobra oh mother!). Women offer sweetened milk, popcorn (lahya
in Marathi) made out of jwari/dhan/corns to the snakes and pray. Cash
and old clothes are also given to the snake-charmers.In
Barshi Town in
Solapur district, a big jatra (carnival) is held at Nagoba Mandir
in Tilak chowk.
Narali Purnima :
Narali Purnima is celebrated on the full moon day of the month of
Shravan in the Shaka
Hindu calendar (around August). This is the most
important festival for the coastal
Konkan region because the new season
for fishing starts on this day. Fishermen and women offer coconuts to
the sea and ask for a peaceful season while praying for the sea to
remain calm. The same day is celebrated as Rakhi Pournima to
commemorate the abiding ties between brother and sister in Maharashtra
as well other parts of Northern India. Narali bhaat (sweet rice with
coconut) is the main dish on this day. On this day,
Brahmin men change
their sacred thread (Janve; Marathi: जानवे) at a common
gathering ceremony called Shraavani (Marathi:श्रावणी).
Gukulashtami dahi-hundi celebration
Gokul Ashtami :The birthday of
Krishna is celebrated with great
fervour all over
India on the 8th day of second fortnight of the month
Shravan (usually in the month of August). In Maharashtra, Gokul
Ashtami is synonymous with the ceremony of dahi handi . This is a
reenactment of Krishna's efforts to steal butter from a matka (earthen
pot) suspended from the ceiling. Large earthen pots filled with milk,
curds, butter, honey, fruits etc. are suspended at a height of between
20 and 40 feet (6.1 and 12.2 m) in the streets. Teams of young men and
boys come forward to claim this prize. They construct a human pyramid
by standing on each other's shoulders until the pyramid is tall enough
to enable the topmost person to reach the pot and claim the contents
after breaking it. Currency notes are often tied to the rope by which
the pot is suspended. The prize money is distributed among those who
participate in the pyramid building. The dahi-handi draws huge crowd
and they support the teams trying to grab these pots by chanting
'Govinda ala re ala'.
* Mangala Gaur:Pahili Mangala Gaur (first Mangala Gaur) is one of
the most important celebrations for the new brides amongst Marathi
Brahmins . On the Tuesday of the month of the
Shravan falling within a
year after her marriage, the new bride performs Shivling puja for the
well-being of her husband and new family. It is also a get-together of
all women folk. It includes chatting, playing games, ukhane (married
women take their husband's name woven in 2/4 rhyming liners) and
sumptuous food. They typically play zimma, fugadi, bhendya (more
popularly known as
Antakshari in modern India) until the early hours
of the following morning.
* Bail pola/Pithori Amavasya:
Pola or Bail Pola is celebrated on the new moon day (Pithori
Amavasya) of the month of Shravan, which usually falls in August, to
pay respect to bulls for their year-long hard work, as
India is mostly
an agricultural country. The festival is very important for farmers.
Hartalika :The third day of the month of
around August/September) is celebrated as
Hartalika in honour of
Harita Gauri or the green and golden goddess of harvests and
prosperity. A lavishly decorated form of Parvati, Gauri is venerated
as the mother of Ganesha. Women fast on this day and worship
Parvati in the evening with green leaves. Women wear green bangles and
green clothes and stay awake till midnight. Both married and unmarried
women may observe this fast.
Ganesha idol in
Ganeshotsav :This 11-day festival starts on
Ganesh Chaturthi on
the fourth day of
Bhadrapada in honour of Ganesha, the God of wisdom.
Hindu households install in their house,
Ganesha idols made out of
clay called shadu and painted in water colours. Early in the morning
on this day, the clay idols of
Ganesha are brought home while chanting
Ganpati Bappa Morya and installed on decorated platforms.The idol is
worshiped in the morning and evening with offerings of flowers, durva
(strands of young grass), karanji and modaks . The worship ends with
the singing of an aarti in honour of Ganesha, other gods and saints.
The worship includes singing the aarti "
Sukhakarta Dukhaharta ",
composed by the 17th century saint,
Samarth Ramdas . Family
traditions differ about when to end the celebration. Domestic
celebrations end after 1 1⁄2, 3, 5, 7 or 11 days. At that time
the idol is ceremoniously brought to a body of water (such as a lake,
river or the sea) for immersion. In Maharashtra,
incorporates other festivals, namely
Hartalika and the Gauri festival,
the former is observed with a fast by women on the day before Ganesh
Chaturthi whilst the latter by the installation of idols of Gauris.
In 1894, Nationalist leader
Lokmanya Tilak turned this festival into a
public event as means of uniting people towards the common goal of
campaigning against British colonial rule. The public festival lasts
for 11 days with various cultural programmes including music concerts,
orchestra, plays and skits. Some social activities are also undertaken
during this period like blood donation, scholarships for the needy or
donation to people suffering from any kind of natural calamity.Due to
environmental concerns, a number of families now avoid bodies of water
and let the clay statue disintegrate in a barrel of water at home.
After a few days, the clay is spread in the home garden. In some
cities a public, eco-friendly process is used for the immersion.
* Gauri / Mahalakshmi: Along with Ganesha, Gauri (also known as
Mahalaxmi in the
Vidharbha region of Maharashtra) festival is
celebrated in Maharashtra. On the first day of the three-day festival,
Gauris arrive home, the next day they eat lunch with a variety of
sweets and on the third day they return to their home. Gauris arrive
in a pair, one as Jyeshta (the Elder one) and another as Kanishta (the
Younger one). They are treated with love since they represent the
daughters arriving at their parents' home.In many parts of Maharashtra
Marathwada and Vidarbha, this festival is called Mahalakshmi
or Mahalakshmya or simply Lakshmya.
Anant Chaturdashi :The 11th day of the Ganesh festival (14th day
of the month of Bhadrapada) is celebrated as
Anant Chaturdashi , which
marks the end of the celebration. People bid a tearful farewell to the
God by immersing the installed idols from home / public places in
water and chanting 'Ganapati Bappa Morya, pudhchya warshi Lawakar
ya!!' (Ganesha, come early next year.) Some people also keep the
traditional wow (Vrata) of Ananta Pooja. This involves the worship of
Ananta the coiled snake or Shesha on which Vishnu resides. A delicious
mixture of 14 vegetables is prepared as naivedyam on this day.
Navratri and Ghatsthapana :Starting with first day of the month of
Ashvin in the
Hindu calendar (around the month of October), the
nine-day and -night festival immediately preceding the most important
festival Dasara is celebrated all over
India with different
Maharashtra on the first day of this 10-day festival,
idols of the Goddess
Durga are installed at many homes. This
installation of the Goddess is popularly known as Ghatsthapana. During
this period, little girls celebrate 'Bhondla/Hadga' as the Sun moves
to the thirteenth constellation of the zodiac called "Hasta"
(Elephant). During the nine days, Bhondla (also known as 'Bhulabai' in
Vidarbha region of Maharashtra) is celebrated in the garden or on
the terrace during evening hours by inviting female friends of the
daughter in the house. An elephant is drawn either with
Rangoli on the
soil or with a chalk on a slate and kept in the middle. The girls go
around it in a circle, holding each other's hands and singing Bhondla
songs. All Bhondla songs are traditional songs passed down through the
generations. The last song typically ends with the words
'...khirapatila kaay ga?' ('What is the special dish today?'). This
'Khirapat' is a special dish or dishes often made laboriously by the
mother of the host girl. The food is served only after the rest of the
girls have guessed what the covered dish or dishes are correctly.There
are some variations about how the
Navratri festival is celebrated. For
example, in many
Brahmin families, celebrations include offering lunch
for nine days to specially invited group of guests. The guests include
a Married Woman (Marathi :सवाष्ण ), a
Brahmin and, a
Virgin (Marathi :कुमारिका). In the morning and
evening, the head of the family ritually worships to either the
Saraswati . On the eighth day, a special
rite is carried out in some families. A statue of goddess Mahalakshmi
with the face of a rice mask, is prepared and worshiped by newly
married girls. In the evening of that day, women blow into earthen or
metallic pots as a form of worship to please the goddess. Everyone in
the family accompanies them by chanting verses and
Bhajans . The nine
day festival ends with a
Yagna or reading of a
Hindu Holy book
(Marathi :पारायण ).
* Dasara :This festival is celebrated on the tenth day of the Ashvin
month (around October) according to the
Hindu Calendar. This is one of
the three and a half most auspicious days in the
Hindu Lunar calendar,
when every moment is important. On the last day (Dasara day), the
idols installed on the first day of the
Navratri are immersed in
water. This day also marks the victory of
Ravana . People
visit each other and exchange sweets. On this day, people worship the
Aapta tree and exchange its leaves (known as golden leaves) and wish
each other future like gold. There is a legend involving Raghuraja ,
an ancestor of Rama, the Aapta tree and
Kuber . There is also another
legend about the Shami tree where the
Pandava hid their weapons during
* Kojagari:Written in the short form of
Sanskrit as 'Ko Jagarti
(को जागरति) ?' (
Sandhi of "कः
जागरति," meaning 'Who is awake?'),
Kojagiri is celebrated
on the full moon day of the month of
Ashwin . It is said that on this
Kojagiri night, the Goddess
Lakshmi visits every house asking "Ko
Jagarti?" and blesses those who are awake with fortune and prosperity.
To welcome the Goddess, houses, temples, streets, etc. are
illuminated. People get together on this night usually in open spaces
(e.g. in gardens or on terraces) and play games until midnight. At
that hour, after seeing the reflection of the full moon in milk boiled
with saffron and various varieties of dry fruits, they drink the
concoction. The eldest child in the household is honoured on this day.
Diwali :Just like most other parts of India,
Diwali is one of the
Hindu festivals. Houses are illuminated for the festival
with rows of clay lamps and decorated with rangoli and aakash kandils
(decorative lanterns of different shapes and sizes).
celebrated with new clothes, firecrackers and a variety of sweets in
the company of family and friends. In Maharashtrian tradition, during
days of Diwali, family members have a ritual bath before dawn and then
sit down for a breakfast of fried sweets and savory snacks. These
sweets and snacks are offered to visitors to the house during the
multi-day festival and exchanged with neighbors. Typical sweet
preparations include Ladu , Anarse ,
Shankarpali and Karanjya .
Popular savory treats include chakli , shev and chiwda . Being high
in fat and low in moisture, these snacks can be stored at room
temperature for many weeks without spoiling.
* Kartiki Ekadashi and
Tulsi Vivah:The 11th day of the month of
Kartik marks the end of
Chaturmas and is called Kartiki Ekadashi (also
Prabodhini Ekadashi ). On this day, Hindus, particularly the
followers of Vishnu, celebrate his awakening after a
Yoganidra of four
Chaturmas . People worship him and fast for the entire
day.The same evening or the evening of the next day is marked by Tulsi
Vivah (Tulshicha Lagna). The
Tulsi (Holy Basil plant) is held sacred
by the Hindus as it is regarded as an incarnation of Mahalaxmi who was
born as Vrinda. The end of
Diwali celebrations marks the beginning of
Tulsi-Vivah. Maharashtrians organise the marriage of a sacred Tulsi
plant in their house with
Krishna . On this day the
Tulsi vrindavan is
coloured and decorated as a bride.
Sugarcane and branches of tamarind
and amla trees are planted along with the tulsi plant. Though a mock
marriage, all the ceremonies of an actual Maharashtrian marriage are
conducted including chanting of mantras ,
Mangal Ashtaka and tying of
Mangal Sutra to the Tulsi. Families and friends gather for this
marriage ceremony which usually takes place in the late evening.
Various poha dishes are offered to
Krishna and then distributed among
family members and friends. This also marks the beginning of marriage
The celebration lasts for three days and ends on Kartiki Poornima or
Tripurari Poornima. A Marathi household shrine with
Khandoba Festival/Champa Shashthi:
This is a six-day festival, from the first to sixth lunar day of the
bright fortnight of the
Hindu month of
Margashirsha .It is celebrated
in honour of
Khandoba by many Marathi families. Ghatasthapana, similar
to navaratri, also takes place in households during this festival. A
number of families also hold fast during this period. The fast ends on
the sixth day of the festival called Champa Shashthi. Among some
Hindu communities, the
Chaturmas period ends on Champa
Sashthi. As it is customary in these communities not to consume
onions, garlic and egg plant (Brinjal / Aubergine) during the
Chaturmas, the consumption of these food items resumes with ritual
preparation of Bharit (
Baingan Bharta ) and rodga, small round flat
breads prepared from jwari (white millet ).
Bhogi :The eve of the
Hindu festival '
Makar Sankranti ' and the
day before is called Bhogi.
Bhogi is a festival of happiness and
enjoyment and generally takes place on 13 January. It is celebrated in
honour of Indra, "the God of Clouds and Rains". Indra is worshiped for
the abundance of the harvest, which brings plenty and prosperity to
the land. Since it is held in the winter, the main food for
mixed vegetable curry made with carrots, lima beans, green capsicums ,
drumsticks , green beans and peas. Bajra roti (i.e. roti made of Pearl
millet ) topped with sesame as well as rice and mung dal khichadi are
eaten to keep warm in winter. During this festival people also take
baths with sesame seeds.'
Makar Sankranti :Sankraman means the passing of the sun from one
zodiac sign to the next. This day marks the sun's passage from the
Tropic of Dhanu (Sagittarius ) to Makar (Capricorn ). Makar Sankranti
falls on 14 January in non-leap years and on 15 January in leap years.
It is the only
Hindu festival that is based on the solar calendar
rather than the
Lunar calendar . Maharashtrians exchange tilgul or
sweets made of jaggery and sesame seeds along with the customary
salutation, Tilgul ghya aani god bola, which means "Accept the Tilgul
and be friendly.
Tilgul Poli or gulpoli are the main sweet preparations made on the
day in Maharashtra. It is a wheat-based flat bread filled with sesame
seeds and jaggery .,
Maha Shivratri :
Maha Shivratri (also known as Maha Sivaratri,
Shivaratri or Sivarathri) means Great Night of
Shiva or Night of
Shiva. It is a
Hindu festival celebrated every year on the 13th night
and 14th day of
Krishna Paksha (waning moon) of the month of Maagha
Shalivahana or Gujarati Vikrama) or
Phalguna (as per Vikrama)
Hindu Calendar, that is, the night before and day of the new
moon. The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of bael
(bilva) leaves to
Shiva , all day fasting and an all night long vigil.
Per The fasting food on this day includes chutney prepared with pulp
of the kavath fruit (Limonia ).
Holi and Rangapanchami:The festival of
Holi falls in Falgun, the
last month of the Marathi Shaka calendar.
Marathi people celebrate
this festival by lighting a bonfire and offering puran poli to the
fire. In North India,
Holi is celebrated over two days with the second
day celebrated with throwing colours. In
Maharashtra it is known as
Dhuli Vandan. However, Maharashtrians celebrate color throwing five
Holi on Rangpanchami. In Maharashtra, people make puran
poli as the ritual offering to the holy fire.
* Village Urus or Jatra:A large number of villages in Maharashtra
hold their annual festivals (village carnivals) or urus in the months
of January–May. These may be in the honour of the village Hindu
deity (Gram devta) or the tomb (dargah ) of a local
Sufi Pir saint.
Apart from religious observations, celebrations may include
bullock-cart racing, kabbadi , wrestling tournaments, a fair and
entertainment such as a lavani /tamasha show by travelling dance
troupes. A number of families eat meat preparations only during
this period. In some villages, women are given a break from cooking
and other household chores by their men folk.
FESTIVALS OBSERVED BY OTHER COMMUNITIES
Dhamma Chakra Pravartan Din
On 14 October 1956 at
Nagpur , Maharashtra, India, Dr. Babasaheb
Ambedkar embraced Buddhist religion publicly and gave Deeksha of
Buddhist religion to his more than 380,000 followers. The day is
Dharmacakra Pravartan Din. The grounds in
which the conversion ceremony took place is known as
Every year more than million Buddhist people especially Ambedkarite
from all over the world visit
Deekshabhoomi to commemorate Dhamma
Chakra Pravartan Din.
Christmas Or Naataal (Marathi:नाताळ)
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Christmas is celebrated to mark the birthday of
Jesus Christ . Like
in other parts of India,
Christmas is celebrated with zeal by a large
number of Marathi people, both Christians and non-Christians. Owing to
the Portuguese influence on Maharashtra,
Christmas is also known as
'Naataal', a word similar to 'Natal' used in Portuguese.
Maharashtrian cuisine and
The many communities in Marathi society result in a diverse cuisine.
This diversity extends to the family level because each family uses
its own unique combination of spices. The majority of Maharashtrians
do eat meat and eggs, but the
Brahmin community is mostly
lacto-vegetarian . The traditional staple food on Desh (the Deccan
plateau) is usually bhakri , spiced cooked vegetables, dal and rice.
Bhakri is an
Unleavened bread made using Indian millet (jowar ), bajra
or bajri. However, the North Maharashtrians and Urban people prefer
roti , which is a plain bread made with
Wheat flour. In the coastal
Konkan region, rice is the traditional staple food. An aromatic
variety of ambemohar rice is more popular amongst
Marathi people than
the internationally known basmati rice. Malvani dishes use more wet
coconut and coconut milk in their preparation. In the
little coconut is used in daily preparations but dry coconut, along
with peanuts, are used in dishes such as spicy savji s or mutton and
Thalipeeth is a popular traditional breakfast flat bread that is
prepared using bhajani, a mixture of many different varieties of
Hindu people observe fasting days when traditional staple
food like rice and chapatis are avoided. However, milk products and
non-native foods such as potatoes, peanuts and sabudana preparations
(sabudana khicdi) are allowed, which result in a Carbohydrate rich
alternative fasting cuisine.
Some Maharashtrian dishes including sev bhaji, misal pav and patodi
are distinctly regional dishes within Maharashtra.
In metropolitan areas including
Mumbai and Pune, the pace of life
makes fast food very popular. The most popular forms of fast food
Marathi people in these areas are: bhaji , vada pav , misal
pav and pav bhaji . More traditional dishes are sabudana khichdi ,
pohe , upma , sheera and panipuri . Most Marathi fast food and snacks
are purely lacto-vegetarian in nature.
In South Konkan, near
Malvan , an independent exotic cuisine has
Malvani cuisine , which is predominantly
Kombdi vade , fish preparations and baked preparations
are more popular here.
Kombdi Vade , a recipe from
Konkan region. Deep
fried flat bread made from spicy rice and urid flour served with
chicken curry, more specifically with Malvani chicken curry.
Desserts are an important part of Marathi food and include puran poli
, shrikhand , basundi , kheer , gulab jamun , and modak .
Traditionally, these desserts were associated with a particular
festival, for example, modaks are prepared during the
Indira Raje (1892-1968) of Baroda as a young girl with
her mother, Chimnabai II , wearing a 'Nauvari', a traditional
Traditionally, Marathi women commonly wore the sari , often
distinctly designed according to local cultural customs. Most middle
aged and young women in urban
Maharashtra dress in western outfits
such as skirts and trousers or salwar kameez with the traditionally
nauvari or nine-yard sari , disappearing from the markets due to a
lack of demand. Older women wear the five-yard sari. In urban areas,
the five-yard sari is worn by younger women for special occasions such
as weddings and religious ceremonies. Among men, western dressing has
greater acceptance. Men also wear traditional costumes such as the
dhoti and pheta on cultural occasions. The
Gandhi cap along with a
long white shirt and loose pajama style trousers is the popular attire
among older men in rural Maharathra. Women wear traditional
jewelleries derived from Marathas and Peshwas dynasties. Kolhapuri
saaj , a special type of necklace, is also worn by Marathi women. In
urban areas, many women and men wear western attire.
Ancient Marathi Inscriptions
Marathi, also known as Suena at that time, was the court language
during the reign of the Yadava Kings . Yadava king Singhania was known
for his magnanimous donations. Inscriptions recording these donations
are found written in Marathion on stone slabs in the temple at
Kolhapur in Maharashtra. Composition of noted works of scholars like
Hemadri are also found.
Hemadri was also responsible for introducing a
style of architecture called Hemandpanth. Among the various stone
inscriptions are those found at Akshi in the Kolaba district, which
are the first known stone inscription in Marathi.An example found at
the bottom of the statue of Gomateshwar (
Bahubali ) at
Karnataka bears the inscription "Chamundraye
karaviyale, Gangaraye suttale karaviyale" which gives some information
regarding the sculptor of the statue and the king who ordered its
Marathi people have a long literary tradition which started in the
ancient era. It was the 13th-century saint,
Dnyaneshwar who produced
the first treatise in Marathi on the Geeta. The work called
Dnyaneshwari is considered a masterpiece. Along with Dnyaneshwar, his
Namdev was also responsible for propagating Marathi
Bhakti literature .
Namdev is also important to the Sikh
tradition, since several of his compositions were included in the Sikh
Holy book, the
Guru Granth Sahib .
Eknath , Sant
Samarth Ramdas were equally important figures in the
17th century. In the 18th century, writers like
Vaman Pandit ,
Raghunath Pandit , Shridhar Pandit,
some well-known works. All of the above-mentioned writers produced
Modern Marathi Literature
The first English book was translated into Marathi in 1817 while the
first Marathi newspaper started in 1841. Many books on social reform
were written by Baba Padamji (Yamuna Paryatana, 1857), Mahatma Jyotiba
Phule , Lokhitawadi ,
Justice Ranade , and Hari Narayan Apte
Lokmanya Tilak 's newspaper Kesari in Marathi was a
strong voice in promoting
newspaper also offered criticism of the colonial government excesses,
Marathi at this time was efficiently aided by Marathi Drama.Dr.
Babasaheb Ambedkar 's newspaper Bahishkrut Bharat set up in 1927,
provided a platform for sharing literary views.
In the mid-1950s, the "little magazine movement" gained momentum. It
published writings which were non-conformist, radical and
Dalit literary movement also gained strength due to
the little magazine movement. This radical movement was influenced by
the philosophy of and challenged the literary establishment, which was
largely middle class, urban and upper caste . The little magazine
movement threw up many excellent writers including the well-known
novelist, critic and poet
Bhalchandra Nemade .
Dalit writer N. D.
Mahanor is well known for his work while Dr. Sharad Rane is a
well-known Children's writer.
Although ethnic Marathis have taken up military roles for many
centuries, their martial qualities came to prominence in seventeenth
century India, under the leadership of the legendary emperor
Shivaji carved out his independent
known as the
Maratha Empire , which at some point controlled
practically the entire Indian subcontinent, extending over large and
distant areas of the country. It was largely an ethnic Marathi
polity, with its chiefs and nobles coming from the Marathi ethnicity,
such as the Chhatrapatis (
Maratha caste), Maharaja
caste), Peshwas (1713 onwards)(Chitpavan caste), Angres , chief of
Maratha Navy (Koli caste)(1698 onwards). The Marathas are credited to
a large extent for ending the Mughal rule in India. Further, they
were also considered by the British as the most important native power
of 18th century India. Today this ethnicity is represented in the
Indian Army , with two regiments deriving their names from Marathi
Maratha Light Infantry and the
Mahar Regiment .
* List of
Maratha dynasties and states
List of Marathi people
* Thanjavur Marathi (other)
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