Ugadi or Yugadi marks the start of the Telugu New Year. The festival has derived its name from “Yuga Aadi” implying New Age. According to the Hindu calendar, the date of the Telugu New Year usually varies. However, as per the Saka calendar, Telugu New Year falls on the first day of Chaitra month.
The natives of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka use the word Ugadi or Yugadi for Telugu New Year. With the onset of spring, this New Year brings in the message of happiness for all. In simple words, Telugu New Year symbolizes new life blooming with fruit bearing trees, fresh flowers and chirping birds. It is often believed that Lord Brahma stated creation on this very day.
A well-known festival amongst Hindus, Telugu New Year is celebrated from as early as the Ramayana Period. On this day, mantras were chanted and predictions were made for the coming year. This tradition continues even today as you will find priests forecasting new events and making people aware of what this year has in store for them.
Telugu New Year Rituals
Telugu New Year is commonly celebrated in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Similar to other religions, here too you will find legendary associations. On this day, you will find people waking up before dawn and getting ready for the preparations. They apply coconut oil on their bodies, take a head to toe bath and wear new clothes. Early in the morning, you will find them carrying fresh mango leaves so as to decorate the entrance of their homes.
Now, why they tie mango leaves at the entrances is related to legendary evidences. It is believed that Lord Ganesha and Karthik were extremely fond of mangoes. According to the legendary evidences, Karthik urged people to tie green mango leaves at their entrances and made them believe that it would lead to their well-being.
Besides, you will also find people splashing cow dung water in front of their home. Rangoli at the entrances is a common view as well. You will also find the natives performing various other rituals so as to seek the blessings of Gods and Goddesses and give a perfect start to their New Year. People pray for their prosperity, well being, wealth and health on Telugu New Year. Besides, business professionals also find this the best time to execute fresh ventures.
Telugu New Year Celebrations
Natives start making preparations a week before the arrival of the major date. As a part of preparations, people clean their houses and neighborhood streets, decorate them with mango leaves. Usually, people love to do shopping during the time, and as a part of it, they do make sure to buy all necessary items related to Telugu New Year traditions, as well as new clothes and gifts for everyone in the house. There is a tradition of exchanging gifts such as silk sarees, dhoti, pootarelullu, and sweets (such as kaja, pala kova) with relatives and close friends.
On the day of Telugu New Year, people wake up early in the morning, apple coconut oil over their bodies, take a bath, and then wear new clothes for the day. People make sure to make a visit to the temples along with their families. There, they offer prayers to the God for happy and peaceful times ahead, apart from fulfilling all required traditions for the day such as reciting the Mantra, listening to Panchanga Sravanam, and participating in the predictions making process carried out by the priests of the temple.
In the evening time, special feasts are organized. Sometimes, people also call close friends and relatives of the extended family to be a part of it. As a part of the feast offering, people prepare a traditional sauce, which is referred as ‘Ugandi Pachchadi’. His traditional sauce has an entire recipe, as part of which different ingredients such as neem leaves, jiggery, raw mango, and tamarind juice are used. Consumption of this sauce is considered to symbolize for a smooth journey in the year ahead.
Telugu New Year is a time, when people give equal amount of significance to good times as well as bad times. The moments of failures, disappointments, and sorrows are considered as the moments of learning new experiences of life. One learns from them, and optimistically hopes for a better future ahead. At the end, one makes a resolution for the coming year, and prays to God to confer one with success, health, wealth, and prosperity for the coming time. Telugu New Year is considered as an auspicious time to initiate anything new in personal life or professional life. Doing so is considered to ensure success in the initiated work. Thus, one finds many people doing so on the day .
Delicacies prepared on Telugu New Year
Social merriment and religious zeal are the two prominent features of Telugu New Year. Besides the rituals, women also prepare special delicacies for the occasion. After the morning prayers, you will find all friends and family members gathering for the traditional sauce called “Ugadi pachchadi”. Ugadi pachchadi” ( a chutney) is a popular dish that is exclusively prepared on Telugu New Year. It is prepared using new tamarind, neem flowers, raw mango and new jaggerry. Now, the combination of sweet, bitter and sour in one particular dish conveys a practical message that life brings in variety of shades, i.e. sweet memories, bitter experiences and sour feelings.
In Andhra Pradesh, delicacies like bobbatlu, pulihora teamed up with raw mango preparations are made. Similarly, natives of Karnataka prepare delicacies like holige and puliogure.
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