Ugadi - Know all about Karnataka and Telangana's New Year Celebrations
Ugadi is the time of the year when people of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana usher New Year in festive spirits. Ugadi - a celebration of the oncoming New Year, falls in the Chaitra month of the Hindu calendar, that loosely corresponds to the months of March-April according to the Gregorian calendar. The term Ugadi is said to originate from the Sanskrit word Yugadi, that is a confluence of the term Yuga (era; period) and Adi (the beginning). Yugadi, or Ugadi then literally means the beginning of a new (year) period.
The festival of Ugadi also finds its mention in Hindu mythology, one related particularly to Lord Brahma. It is believed that it was on the Ugadi day that Lord Brahma began creating the Universe. Hence, Ugadi is considered to be the first day of the process of creation of the universe. Ugadi also coincides with the advent of spring and the harvest season and is celebrated along with harvest and New year festivals in other parts of the country, like Punjab, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Assam and Tamil Nadu.
Ugadi Festival Preparations
The celebrations for Ugadi start a few days before the actual day, as people begin to clean and wash their houses. They buy new clothes for the family. Families make preparations for the unique cuisines to be cooked on the day.
Celebration of Ugadi
Ugadi is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and fervour. On the day of the celebrations, people often wake up before sunrise and take an oil bath, and the gods and goddesses are also anointed with an oil-bath, before being worshipped. Front doors of houses, offices and shops are beautifully decorated with flowers and Torans, and colourful floral patterns or rangolis are commonly painted in front of homes. People wear their new clothes and go to the temples to worship the Sun God before consuming Bevu Bella, or Ugadi Pachadi, a very auspicious and significant dish of the festival. An important ritual during Ugadi is the Panchanga Sravanam or reading the Panchanga, read either by the priests at temples or by the eldest family member at home. Because of how auspicious the day is, Ugadi is considered the best time to start new ventures and take on new things.
Food is an integral part of any Indian festival, and Ugadi famously corresponds with the Ugadi Pachadi or Bevu Bella that is cooked and enjoyed by the people of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. This "Pachadi" is famous for its delectable blend of 6 distinct but perfectly woven flavours. These six flavours symbolise the essence of life. It is made from a mixture of neem flowers or buds, tamarind, chilli powder, unripe mango, salt, and jaggery, that symbolise the difficulties, challenges, angry or upsetting moments, surprises, interests and happiness in life. It is the first dish that is served on the Ugadi day.
Before the family eats, the Gods are served. The rest of the day is spent in offering prayers, visiting temples, and celebrating with friends and family.
Ugadi Festival Significance
Given that it is still celebrated with so much enthusiasm, Ugadi’s significance in people’s lives is massive. It is observed to honour Lord Brahma and his creation, and Vishnu in his Yugaadikrit form is also worshipped as he is the creator of the universe. Astronomically, Ugadi begins the energising process of the earth. It is around this time that the Earth, because of its tilt, receives the maximum sunlight and is symbolically understood to prepare and recharge itself for a new astronomical cycle. Because of this, there is also a season change on Earth where Ugadi, then, marks the beginning of the spring season. As with the Gregorian new year, Ugadi also brings with it the feeling of letting go of past bygones and excitement and hope for a new year and new beginning.
Ugadi is a famous New Year festival in the three prominent states in Deccan India. While many might think it is concentrated only there, many south Indian families settled in North India celebrate this festival with as much gusto and enthusiasm. If one is ever lucky enough to travel to Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh or Telangana during Ugadi, it is a must to stay and experience the most awaited festival in these states.