Ugadi ushers in a celebratory mood in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. For the people of these states, Ugadi symbolises the beginning of the New Year as per the Hindu calendar. It is an occasion that is traditionally celebrated with day-long festivities. People undertake new ventures during Ugadi as it is considered to be an auspicious time for doing so.
Date of Ugadi celebration
Ugadi falls on the first day of Chaitra, which is the first month in the traditional Hindu calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually falls in the month of March or April. It is the time of the year when New Year’s Day is also celebrated in Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, and Punjab.
Origin of the term ‘Ugadi’
Ugadi is believed to have originated from the Sanskrit word Yugadi. The term Yugadi is the merger of two words, Yuga (meaning period or age) and Adi (meaning the beginning). So, Ugadi or Yugadi literally translates to ‘the commencement of a new period or new age’.
Beliefs associated with Ugadi
According to popular beliefs, Ugadi has an age-old association with mythology. Legend has it that Lord Brahma began the creation of the universe on the Ugadi day. He then went on to create days, weeks, months, and years in order to keep track of time. Thus, Ugadi is believed to be the first day of the creation of the universe.
Significance of Ugadi
The occasion of Ugadi holds a lot of significance in the lives of the people, which stems from ancient beliefs and practices. The fact that Ugadi is still celebrated with so much fervour and enthusiasm goes on to show its relevance even in today’s time and age.
Spiritual Significance of Ugadi: Since it’s believed that Brahma started the creation of the universe on this auspicious day, Ugadi is celebrated to acknowledge his work. One of the names of Lord Vishnu is Yugaadikrit, which means the creator of the Yugas or ages. He is worshipped on this day for this reason.
Astronomical Significance of Ugadi: As per the lunisolar calendar, Ugadi marks the day on which a new astronomical cycle gets into motion. The tilt of the earth enables the northern hemisphere to receive the maximum amount of sunlight for a period of 21 days that starts on the Ugadi day. It signifies a period when the earth starts to recharge itself for a new beginning with the help of Sun’s energy. Ugadi marks the start of the earth’s energising period.
Significance of Ugadi in Nature: It is the time of the year that heralds in the spring season. With the advent of spring, Mother Nature wakes up from her reverie and gives birth to new shoots, leaves, and plants. A blanket of greenery starts to cover the earth and everything in nature seems to adorn a new look. Ugadi marks the regeneration of Mother Nature. The spring festival of Vasanta Navratri also commences on this day and continues for nine days before concluding on Ram Navami.
Psychological Significance of Ugadi: A fresh beginning is the essence of human life as well as the occasion of Ugadi. Just as the trees and plants unfurl new leaves during spring, Ugadi marks the unfurling of new hopes and expectations in human lives. The occasion is all about leaving behind the past and starting anew with fresh expectations and a positive frame of mind. Ugadi not only signifies the start of a new year, it also signifies the beginning of a new phase in a person’s life.
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Preparations for Ugadi
A lot of preparations are carried out to celebrate the festival. The preparations generally begin a few days in advance. People clean and wash their houses for the occasion. New clothes are bought to be worn on that day. To celebrate the spirit of Ugadi, several other items are purchased and kept ready by the people. They make preparations for the special cuisines to be cooked on the day.
Celebration of Ugadi
The celebration of Ugadi is marked by enthusiasm and cheerfulness. On the special day, people wake up before sunrise and get ready after taking a ceremonial oil-bath, as it is a prevalent custom for Ugadi. Even the idols of gods and goddesses are given an oil-bath on this day.
Temples, homes, and shops are decorated with flowers and mango leaves, specially the entrances. Making colourful floral patterns or rangolis in front of the houses is a common practice on the day.
Family members dress up in new clothes and gather to worship and pray together on this day. Prayers are offered to the Sun God before consuming Bevu Bella, a dish that holds much significance in Ugadi celebrations. People visit temples to make offerings and seek blessings from the Almighty and start the New Year on a happy and positive note.
Special dishes are cooked for the occasion and enjoyed by families. Sweets and eatables are shared with friends and neighbours.
An important aspect of the occasion is the Panchanga Shravanam or hearing of the Panchanga. It is read by the priests at the temples or by the eldest member of the family at home. On this day, based on the moon sign, predictions and annual forecasts for the New Year are also made by the learned pandits and astrologers.
Starting of new ventures on the day
Many new ventures are started on Ugadi. People commence the construction of their new houses, undertake new business endeavours, make important purchases, and sign deals on this significant day.
Bevu Bella- A dish celebrating the six flavours of life
On the occasion of Ugadi, people lay emphasis on preparing a special dish that incorporates the six different and distinct flavours of life. This dish is called Bevu Bella or Ugadi Pachhadi. Bevu means bitterness and bella means sweetness. This dish is made from a mixture of neem flowers or buds, tamarind, chilli powder, unripe mango, salt, and jaggery. It is the first dish to be had on the Ugadi day.
It is a symbolic dish that signifies the essence of life through its ingredients. Each ingredient in this dish signifies a different taste:
- Neem flowers are for bitter taste that symbolises the difficulties in life
- Tamarind is for sour taste that symbolises challenges
- Chilli powder is for spicy taste that symbolises angry or upsetting moments
- Unripe mango is for tangy taste that symbolises surprises
- Salt is for salty taste that symbolises interest in life
- Jaggery is for sweet taste that symbolises happiness
So, the dish has all the flavours, starting from bitterness and ending in sweetness. Bevu Bella denotes that life is a mixture of different experiences, emotions, and events that one must learn to face bravely. Each member of the family tastes this dish on Ugadi. Apart from Bevu Bella, several other dishes are prepared to celebrate the festivities on Ugadi. Holige and puliogure are two popular dishes of Karnataka that people cook and relish on Ugadi.
Thus, the festival is celebrated to welcome a new start in life every year with the expectations of happiness, well-being, growth, and prosperity.
For other traditions of celebrating the lunar new year, see Lunar New Year (disambiguation).
Ugadi Pachadi with New Year prayer puja tray
|Observed by||Hindus in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra|
|Type||religious (Hindu), social, cultural|
|Celebrations||Kolam-Rangoli, visiting Temples, Feast with Ugadi pachadi|
|Begins||1st day of Chaitra|
|Date||March (generally), April (occasionally)|
|2018 date||Sun, 18 March|
|2019 date||Sat, 9 Apr|
|Related to||Gudi Padwa and other regional Hindu new year day|
Ugadi (Ugādi, Samvatsarādi, Yugadi) is the New Year's Day for the Hindus of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana states in India. It is festively observed in these regions on the first day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Chaitra. This typically falls in March or April of the Gregorian calendar.
The day is observed by drawing colorful patterns on floor called kolamulus (Kannada: Rangoli), mango leaf decorations on doors called toranalu (Kannada: Toranagalu), buying and giving gifts such as new clothes, giving charity to the poor, special bath followed by oil treatment, preparing and sharing a special food called pachadi, and visiting Hindu temples. The pachadi is a notable festive food that combines all flavors – sweet, sour, salty, bitter. In the Telugu and Kannada Hindu traditions, it is a symbolic reminder that one must expect all flavors of experiences in the coming new year and make the most of them.
Ugadi has been important and historic festival of the Hindus, with medieval texts and inscriptions recording major charitable donations to Hindu temples and community centers on this day. The same day is observed as a New Year by Hindus in many other parts of India. For example, it is called Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, but sometimes observed a Gregorian day earlier because the lunar day starts and ends in Hindu calendar according to the position of the moon. In Karnataka, the festival is celebrated as Yugadi.
The name Yugadi or Ugadi is derived from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and ādi (beginning): "the beginning of a new age". Yugadi or Ugadi falls on "Chaitra Shudhdha Paadyami" or the first day of the bright half of the Indian month of Chaitra. This generally falls in late March or early April of the Gregorian calendar.
The people of Telangana state and Andhra Pradesh use the term Ugadi (ఉగాది) and Karnataka use the term Yugadi (ಯುಗಾದಿ) for this festival.
The Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Kodava, Tulu and the Konkani diaspora in KarnatakaTelangana state, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala celebrate the festival with great fanfare; gatherings of the extended family and a sumptuous feast are 'de rigueur'. The day begins early with ritual showers, rubbing the body with perfumed oil, followed by prayers.
Preparations for the festival begin a week ahead. Houses are given a thorough clean. People buy new clothes and Dhoti and buy new items for the festival, decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves. Mango leaves and coconuts are considered auspicious in the Hindu tradition, and they are used on Ugadi. People also clean the front of their house with water and cow dung paste, then draw colorful floral designs. People offer prayer in temples. The celebration of Ugadi is marked by religious zeal and social merriment.
Special dishes are prepared for the occasion. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, eatables such as "pulihora, bobbatlu (Bhakshalu/ polelu/ oligalu), New Year Burelu and Pachadi" and preparations made with raw mango go well with the occasion. Of this pachadi (or Ugadi pacchadi) is most notable, and consists of a chutney-like dish which includes ingredients to give all flavors: sweet, sour, tangy and bitter. This festive Hindu food is made from tamarind paste, neem flowers, brown sugar or sweet jaggery, salt, and sometimes mango. It is a symbolic reminder of complex phases of life one should reasonably expect in the new year. According to Vasudha Narayanan, a professor of Religion at the University of Florida:
[The pacchadi festive dish symbolically] reminds the people that the following year – as all of life – will consist of not just sweet experiences, but a combination of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter episodes. Just as the different substances are bound together, one is reminded that no event or episode is wholly good or bad. Even in the midst of bitter experiences, there are sweet moments. One is also reminded that the experience of taste is transitory and ephemeral; so too, is life, and one has to learn to put pain and pleasure in proper temporal perspective.
In Karnataka too, similar preparations are made but called "puliogure" and "holige".
In Telangana state and Andhra Pradesh a special dish called Bobbattu (Polelu) (Puran Poli) (Oliga) are prepared on this occasion. This special dish is called Bhakshalu, Boorelu in which is eaten with fresh ghee in Andhra Pradesh Telangana State. These are eaten along with the Ugadi Pachchadi mentioned earlier. In Karnataka a special dish called obbattu, or Holige (ಹೋಳಿಗೆ / ಒಬ್ಬಟ್ಟು), is prepared. It consists of a filling (gram and jaggery/sugar boiled and made into a paste) stuffed in a flat roti-like bread. It is usually eaten hot or cold with ghee or milk topping or coconut milk at some places of Karnataka.
In Kannada, the greeting is Yugadi Habbada Shubhaashayagalu - ಯುಗಾದಿ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು ("Greetings for the festival of Yugadi") or Hosa varshada shubhashayagalu - ಹೊಸ ವರ್ಷದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು ("Greetings on the New Year").
In Telugu, the traditional greetings for Ugadi are kroththa yeta, ugadi panduga, palukarimpulu or ugadi subhaakankshalu - "క్రొత్త ఏట" / "ఉగాది పండుగ" పలుకరింపులు, లేదా ఉగాది శుభాకాంక్షలు ("Greetings for the festival of Ugadi") and Nutana samvastara shubhaakankshalu -నూతన సంవత్సర శుభాకాంక్షలు ("Greetings on the New Year").
The Hindus of Maharashtra term the same festival, observed on the same day, Gudi Padwa (Marathi: गुढी पाडवा).
The Sindhis, people from Sindh, celebrate the same day as Cheti Chand, which is the beginning of their calendar year.
Manipuris also celebrate their New Year as Sajibu Nongma Panba on the same day.
The Hindus of Bali and Indonesia also celebrate their new year on the same day as Nyepi.
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