Ugadi or Yugadi is a festival celebrated to mark the beginning of the New Year in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. While it is called Ugadi in Telangana, Andhra and Karnataka, in Maharashtra it is Gudi Padva.
Ugadi is celebrated during the bright fortnight, Shukla Paksha, of the first month – Chaitra Masa (March-April) in the first season of the year, i.e., spring (vasanta-ritu). It is believed that Lord Brahma started creation on this day. The arrival of the spring season also marks the commencement of new life with plants getting new leaves and fertile fields full of colorful blossoms signify growth, prosperity and well-being.
Ugadi marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar with a change in the moon’s orbit. On this day, astrologers make predictions for the coming year. The naturally perfumed jasmine flowers spread a sweet fragrance, which are offered to the Deities and also worn by women folk in clusters. Ugadi is a festival of joy. The season is pleasant. New flowers are seen everywhere. The birds sing melodiously. Mangoes are in plenty and are half-way towards ripening.
People pray for their health, wealth and prosperity. Ugadi is also an auspicious time to start new ventures. It is a season for raw mangoes spreading their scent in the air and the fully flowered Neem tree that makes the air healthy. Also, jaggery made with fresh crop of sugarcane adds a renewed flavor to the dishes associated with Ugadi.
Mango and neem leaves and flowers are used to decorate doorways. Oil-bath and new clothes are a must for everybody. After prayers to the family Deities, the Ugadi Pachadi is first eaten by all. Ugadi Pachadi is a special preparation in which tender margosa leaves and neem flowers, jaggery, and tamarind are added. It tastes sweet, hot, as well as sour. It is believed that life is a mixture of all, like the Ugadi Pachadi. All experiences have to be treated with equanimity. Everyone should make a resolve that he will face calmly whatever happens that year, accepting it with good grace. Consider everything as for one’s own good. Men should rise above sorrow and happiness, success and failure. This is the primary message of the Ugadi festival.
Delicacies such as Bele Obbattu, Kayi Holige and Puran Poli or sweet Rotis are made during this festival. A New Year day happily spent means a happy year to follow. So goes the belief.
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