What is Ugadi?
Ugadi is the New Year's Day for most of the southern Indians. People of Southern India celebrate their new year according to a sixty years based calendar with a particular name allotted to each of the sixty years. After completion of the sixty years, the cycle again re-starts in the same sequence. So, on the first day of each year, they celebrate the new year's day by exchanging greetings and enjoying special dishes and going on outings with friends/ relatives.
Literally, Ugadi or Yugadi means the start of an age or generation. Generally the calendar's cycle of sixty years is one age. Yug resembles this cycle. Adi means starting point. So first day of each cycle of 60 years can be considered as Yugadi. But, Each year and each cycle of 60 years are considered to be bringing some changes in our lives for betterment and so each starting day of the year and cycle is celebrated with new hopes and new determinations.
When is this festival celebrated
Normally, this festival falls in the second half of March, (or sometimes in first week of April) on the first day of the Telugu calendar, ie. on Chaitra suddha padyami. In 2014, this festival falls on 31st March.
There are twelve months in Telugu calendar also like the English calendar. The calendar starts with Chaitra masam (the month of chaitra). Each month ends with the whole New Moon day and starts with the day after the new moon. So on this first day of the first month of the Telugu calendar of each year, this festival is celebrated. This is the period of spring season in India with greenery spread all over the environment making it very beautiful to enjoy outings and picnics.
How it is celebrated
On this Ugadi day, people get up early in the morning and take full bath most people applying some oil to their heads and all over the body. They normally take bath with hot water and shampoo and soaps nowadays. Traditional people give their children a very healthy bath by applying the shikakai powder to their heads and flour made from black grams or green grams to their whole body. This kind of bath keeps them healthy and strong.
After taking bath, they wear new clothes or best available clean clothes and prepare the Ugadi Pachadi, a kind of chutney with several tastes and offer it to God before eating it. Then they go to temples and take blessings of God.
The Ugadi Pachchadi is prepared by mixing the pieces of raw unripe mango, ripe banana pieces, neem flowers/ buds, jaggery, green chilli pieces and a little salt all mixed in a liquid paste of tamarind. It is a mixture of all the tastes representing the varying moods and feelings of life. It is a kind of lesson to the newer generations that life is a mixture of varying tastes which they should face with equal patience to live happily in this world. So people eat this dish first before eating anything else on this day. It is a belief that life will be balanced throughout the year if this Ugadi Pachadi is consumed first on this day.
For detailed knowledge regarding preparation of the UGADI Pachadi view my article at following link:
People enjoy throughout this day happily with their family and friends by exchanging new year greetings and sweets. Newly married sons and daughters will be especially spending this festival day with their parents along with their spouses and children. Son-in-laws will be the most welcome persons on this festival with special treats and gifts to them by their in-laws. They enjoy this festival with free liberty and great respect from their in-laws.
Temples get over crowded on this day with devotees thronging continuously to get blessings of God and to hear to the "Panchanga sravanam" by the temple purohit. It is a kind of studying and knowing about the happenings of good or bad events that may occur during that year and about the rashiphal and effects of stars on human life during that particular year. It is a customary practice of people on this day to read or listen to this almanac and predictions of good or bad results of the year.
Many cultural events are also organised on this festival continuously for 3 days or 9 days according to practices. Stage dramas and musical programs are held at many important temples and cultural centers in both urban and rural areas also. National level artists also give performances. People throng the venues with great enthusiasm and interest and whole evenings and nights are spent at these venues enjoying the fine melodies of life.
WISH YOU HAPPY UGADI