Ugadi is the celebration of the New Year’s Day in the regions of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. This is the same day when the Maharashtrians celebrate the Gudi Padwa.
According to traditional beliefs, this is the day when the creator of all, Lord Brahma, after a great deluge, created the Earth. Thus this day, in the month of Chaitra, according to the traditional Hindu calendar and March or April according to the Gregorian calendar marks the beginning of New Year.
Karnataka calls this day Yugadi, while the Marwaris in Rajasthan call this day Thapna, the Sindhis call this day the Cheti Chand and the Manipuris call this day the Sajibu Nongma Panba. According to the scripture Chandramana, Ugadi is celebrated in the Shukla paksha or the bright fortnight of the first season and the first month of the year.
Origin of the word Ugadi
The origin of the word Ugadi can be traced to the Sanskrit word of Yuga meaning age, epoch or an era and Adi meaning the very beginning. On this day it is believed that the Samvatsara, or the cycle of sixty years starts.
Observance of the Ugadi
The day of Ugadi begins with the traditional ritualistic holy bath with oil. Prior to that all the houses are given a thorough cleaning to usher in the New Year and seek blessings from the God. Post having the bath, people decorate their houses with green mango leaves. Water mixed with cowdung is sprinkled outside the houses.
Mango leaves are said to be extremely auspicious as Kartikeya and Ganesha, both the sons of Lord Shiva were very fond of Mangoes, and would advise people to tie mango leaves in their doors to indicate if they have had an excellent season of mangoes. However, post this the houses are decorated with colorful floral designs or rangolis. Pots called kalasam s with coconuts are kept to seek divine blessings. Ritualistic prayers and worship to God is done to seek their blessings for the ensuing years. Devotees seek blessings for health, wealth and prosperity for themselves and their near and dear ones. This is also considered the best time to initiate any kind of ventures.
Special delicacies of Ugadi
Ugadi Pachchadi is the symbolic and revered delicacy that is mandated in Ugadi to be savored. It is a ceremonial preparation. It is also known as Bevu-Bella in Kannada. It has an admixture of various ingredients symbolizing the various feeling of life. This special mixture has all the tastes that the tongue or the taste buds can perceive and is considered to be a glimpse of what life is or can be. The tastes are as following –
- Neem Leaves or Flowers for their bitterness, signifying the sadness in life,
- Jaggery or Gur for its sweetness, signifying happiness,
- Green chili or pepper for its hotness, signifying anger in life,
- Salt for the saltiness representing fear in life,
- Tamarind Juice for its sourness, signifying the feeling of disgust and
- Unripened mangoes for their tanginess signifying surprises of life.
Apart from this, a special dish called Obattu or Holige is prepared in Karnataka. This is made of gram and jiggery or sugar mixed together and stuffed in a flat roti and consumed with either ghee or milk or coconut milk toppings. In Karnataka a special dish called Bobbattu or Oliga are prepared for this special occasion. In the Telengana district this same is known as the Bhakshalu.
People on this day traditionally gather to listen to the predictions of the year ahead from the almanac. This is called the Panchangam Sravanam which is an informal get together where an elderly person reads out the almanac.
Kavi Sammelan or a poetry recital festival is also an integral part of the Ugadi. This is the time when people look forward to having some kind of a literary fest with aspiring and veteran poets coming together on one stage.
Thus Ugadi is a festival with numerous shades in it. It ushers in the new year with ritualistic flavours filling up people’s lives with hope and joy.
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