The people of Mathura, where Krishna lived, were basically farmers and had a practice of offering yearly puja's to Lord Indra. The worship was a means of thanking for a good produce and all the celebrations happened at mount Govardhan, near Braj. One particular year, as usual the residents of Mathura started their journey towards the mountain and Krishna accompanied them.
People were preparing to carry out the pooja to please Indra, when Lord Krishna approached them and questioned their belief practice. He told them to worship the fields where they grow their produce and the cattle which are help in planting the crop, instead of Lord Indra. The elders in the community said that it would displease Lord Indra and bring disaster. But, Krishna was persuasive and they yielded to his argument.
The people of Mathura under the guidance of Krishna made all the preparations for worshiping the cattle and the fields, when terror struck. Lord Indra angered by the insult of created a storm which threatened to blow away not only the cattle but also the people. The scared people ran to Krishna for help and he lifted the mountain Govardhan with his little finger. The people and the cattle took shelter under the mountain and were saved from the storm. Humbled by this act, Lord Indra, approached Lord Krishna to apologize.
The day after the Lakshmi Puja, most families in Gujarat celebrate the new year as Bestvarsha. This day is celebrated by dressing in new clothes, wearing jewelery and visiting family members and business colleagues to give them sweets, dry fruits and gifts. This day is more popular among the business communities as on this day the new business year begins. Besta varsa is also considered auspicious for shopping, inaugurations of new homes, business deals or for starting any new ventures and projects.
On the occasion of Bestavarsh, people usually do not cook food and eat the various delicacies such as Mathias prepared a day before. A unique ritual is performed by young boys who observe this day. Early in the morning, before sunrise, young boys in every household come out on streets and sell salt. The salt is called Sabras, meaning all good things in life. There is as such no commercial significance attached to this rituals, it is more of a thanksgiving to god for fulfilling their necessities and wishing the same for the coming year. It is auspicious to sell as well as buy salts before sunrise on day of Bestavarsh.
The word Padwa is etymologically quite close to the Sanskrit word for crop which is Pradurbhu. Padava might be a corrupted form of the original word for "crop" which was used to term the new year festival. The term 'padwa' or 'padavo' is also associated with Diwali, another New Year celebration that comes at the end of the harvesting season, thus substantiating the agricultural link to the festival.
On the festive day, courtyards in village houses will be swept clean and plastered with fresh cow dung. Even in the city, people take the time out to do some cleaning. Women and children work on intricate rangoli designs on their doorsteps, the vibrant colors mirroring the burst of color associated with spring. Everyone dresses up in new clothes and it is a time for family gatherings.
For Farmers, this is a festival marking the end of one Harvest and the beginning of another, was a festival heralding the beginning of a New Year. Gudi Padava is also looked upon as a new year in some parts of India such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra occurs in the month of Chaitra ( March-April).
Varshapratipada/ Pratipad Padwa
The fourth day of Diwali falls on the first day Karthik Masa of the Indian calendar. It is known as Varshapratipada or Pratipad Padwa. VarshaPratipada that marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya and Vikaram-Samvat was started from this Padwa day. Newly wed females are invited over to their parents place along with their husbands. On this day, businessmen open their account books afresh, every kind of transaction, receipt or payment and business is postponed. On this day, many people try the their luck of gambling. This day is looked upon as the most auspicious day to start any new venture.
In many Hindu homes it is a custom for the wife to put the red tilak on the forehead of her husband, garland him and do his "Aarathi" with a prayer for his long life. In appreciation of all the tender care that the wife showers on him, the husband gives her a costly gift. This Gudi Padwa is symbolic of love and devotion between the wife and husband. On this day newly-married daughters with their husbands are invited for special meals and given presents. In olden days brothers went to fetch their sisters from their in-laws home for this important day.
Annakoot is celebrated in observance of the episode in Sri Krishna's childhood, in which He gave protection to the cowherd clan of Vrindavan from the wrath of Indra and humbled Indra in that process. The cowherds, their wives, children and cattle jubilantly surrounded Sri Krishna. They were awed by His superhuman accomplishment and celebrated Sri Krishna's feat with a sumptuous feast. Thus began the tradition of Annakoot.
Srimad Bhagwatam says :-
"After lifting of the huge Sri Goverdhan Parvat for continuous seven days prior to Diwali, the Lord put it back on earth & asked the citizens to worship the mountain. Sri Krishanji, then appeared in two forms. One as Sri Goverdhan hillock itself, i.e., deity to be worshiped and as second as resident to offer food to Him.
After the prayers, traditional worship & Aarti, innumerable varieties of delicious sweets/ all cookings / 56 bhogs were ceremoniously raised in the form of a mountain before the deity as "Bhog" and after Lord had it full , now it was citizens turn to approach the Mountain of Food and take Prasad from it. It was a Great Feast for residents of Goverdhan & they all enjoyed it thoroughly .
Thus on this day, the devotees offer their gratitude to Lord Krishna for his blessings in making their lives complete. In temples, on this day, the deities are given milk baths, dressed in shining attires with ornaments of dazzling diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious stones. After the prayers and traditional worship innumerable varieties of delicious sweets are ceremoniously raised in the form of a mountain before the deities as an offering.
Bali Padyam / Bali Pratipada
Balipadyami or Bali Pratipada is the day on which 'Bali' is worshiped. Following Deepavali, there is a story behind celebrating this festival. When Vishnu was born as vamana (the dwarf), he crushed Bali into the under world. Then Prahlada, the grandfather of Bali pleaded Vishnu to pardon Bali. Then Bali was made the king of the under world. On Bali's request, Vishnu granted a boon that people on earth would remember him and would worship him. That is the reason for Balipadyami. On that day also people burst crackers and celebrate in the name of Bali.
There is also a story to tell that on Balipadyami 'Gambling' (Judam) should be played. Once on this padyami day, Shiva and Parvathi played the dice game. Shiva lost to Parvathi. Kumaraswami then played dice with Parvathi and won. Then Lord Ganesh played with Lord Kumaraswami and won. Since then, it has been customary for the family to be involved in gambling on this day. Farmers celebrate this day in a different way. They perform puja to cow, and is known as Gouramma puja. This ritual is being followed still in Tamilnadu.
Muharat pujan is held on the fourth day of Diwali and is meant for those devotees who had missed their Chopda Pujan or Sharda pujan. The symbolism of Muharat Pujan is same as Chopda Pujan and Sharda Pujan, as this puja is very relevant for anyone who uses and earns money, not just businessmen. It encourages people to respect money and also teaches us to pray to obtain more empowerment to use surplus income for good causes and not just to hoard it.
Thus, businesses and every Hindu households perform Muharat pujan to clean up the accounting. On this day also, the worship of Laxmi continues to seek her blessings for success and happiness. Muharat Pujan is also taken upon as a puja that is auspicious for starting any new venture. During this puja, all family members are dressed up in new clothes, wearing fine jewelery.
Muharat pujan is very popular among the business communities of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. All business establishments and families perform Muharat pujan ie, veneration of their books. Stock brokers do mahurat trading or symbolic auspicious business deals.