5 April, 2019
Ugadi is one of the biggest festivals celebrated in the many states of Central and South India like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Goa, and Maharashtra. In Maharashtra, they call it as Gudi Padwa, and it is also celebrated in different names in certain other states as well. However, Ugadi celebration is mostly associated with the states of Karnataka, Andhra, and Telangana. The term Ugadi is coined from the Sanskrit words “Yug,” meaning era and “Adi,” meaning beginning. Hence, it ushers in the New Year for the people of these states, or those that follow a particular calendar. It falls on the first day of the first month of the Chaitra maasa, of the Hindu calendar.
People usually get up early as they do for most festivals and take a bath and wear new clothes and conduct prayers and Puja at home. The house is cleaned and decorated, and flowers and mango leaves at the doorway, and Rangolis (designs) are used to decorate the entrance to the house. These little rituals symbolize prosperity and peace for the coming year.
A family visit to the temple is also done with offerings to God like flowers, coconuts, bananas and more. In Karnataka and the Konkan areas, there is a custom of eating “Bevu Bella,” which is made of Neem leaves and Jaggery. This is to signify to the people that the year always brings its share of sweet and sour moments and that we should be prepared for it.
In a few other parts, they prepare what is called as the Ugadipachadi, made out of Neem flowers, jaggery, salt, tamarind, raw mango, and chili powder. These tastes indicate bitter, sweet, salty, sour, tangy and spicy to give an all-round combination to usher in the New Year.
Another common custom across many states is Panchangasravanam. The panchanga is nothing but the Hindu calendar, and the temple priest, usually before the evening Puja, reads out the predictions for the year, as per the panchanga. A generic forecast about the weather, the crops, the yield, the good and bad that can befall the society in the year, etc. is made.
At home, delicious food is prepared; a variety of dishes add a multi-flavour attraction to the Ugadi feast. This also includes the Payasam or the Kheer, and the family eats together.
For Kannadigas, Ugadi kicks off a nine-day celebration that culminates in Ram Navami celebrations, in honour of Lord Rama on his birthday. Apart from prayers and Pujas at home and temple, Kannadigas prepare a traditional feast to celebrate the occasion. One of the main dishes for this is the “Maavinkai Chitranna,” which means raw mango rice. This is prepared using the raw mango, which is available in plenty around this time.
The people of Konkan coast also follow most of the customs above and also attend the panchangasravana. They also prepare dishes like Bengal gram ghashi, tendlya bibya upkari (gherkins and tender cashew dish), Madgane (Bengal Gram Payasam), Podis (fried vegetables) and more. The Kodavas (Coorgis) of Karnataka celebrate Ugadi with a few special dishes of their own and temple visits. Obbattu, a sweet dish is commonly prepared in Karnataka for the occasion.
Andhra Pradesh/ Telangana
Apart from most of the customs above like early morning bath, wearing new clothes, decorating the homes, visiting the temples, etc., the people of these states also dedicate the day to Lord Brahma and Vishnu. They believe that the Lord took the form of the fish (Matsya Avatar) on this day. They also believe that it is an auspicious day to start new ventures. A big feast is prepared with a variety of dishes like Mudda Pappu, Sweet Poli, a variety of Vepudu (fries), etc.
The people of Maharashtra believe that the Lord Brahma created the universe on this day and the day on which the Sat Yug or the era of the truth began. Gudi means flag, and they hoist a flag in front of their house on this day, signifying an auspicious occasion and hence, the name Gudi Padwa. The traditional Gudi is a bright coloured scarf, decorated with flowers, neem and mango leaves, etc. and it is capped with a copper, silver or bronze Kalash on top, to signify the victory of Lord Rama, King Shalivahana, or with a belief to just ward off the evils, from the house. Puran Poli, a form of obattu is prepared especially for this day, along with many other dishes for the Ugadi feast.
This year, Ugadi falls on the 6th of April 2019, and many folks are busy cleaning their houses and shopping for new clothes. Here is wishing everyone a Happy Ugadi and a great year ahead.
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