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Derived from the Sanskrit words yuga, meaning age, and adi, meaning beginning, Ugadi (also known as Yugadi or Samvatsaradi) means “the beginning of a new age”. This festival, which is celebrated by the people of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka, falls on “Chaitra Shudhdha
Paadyami” – the first day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Chaitra. According to the Gregorian calendar, it falls in late March or early April. Ugadi (in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), and Yugadi (in Karnataka) is celebrated as New Year’s Day. The day marks a historic Hindu festival and is a very important day in the calendar. Ugadi is celebrated with a great fanfare and in very high spirits with new clothes, exchanging of gifts, giving charity to the poor, delicious traditional cuisines and much more. Drawings of colourful patterns on the floor are made, known as kolamulus. These wonderful floor drawings and decorations are known as muggulu in Telugu and rangoli in Kannada.
House entrances are decked up with mango leaf decorations known as the toranalu.
On this day, people visit temples to seek God’s blessings as they step into a new year. One major tradition that people follow on this auspicious day is the ritual of taking an oil bath early in the morning. The belief is that Goddess Ganga dwells in water and Goddess Lakshmi dwells in oil. Hence, having an oil bath is considered as receiving blessings from both the Goddesses. This festival also marks the start of spring, which indicates a new start.
Every festival is incomplete without its traditional food! Pachadi is the festive food of Ugadi. The dish is an amalgamation of six flavours in one: sweet, spicy, salty, tangy, sour, and bitter. According to age-old traditions, pachadi is a symbolic representation and reminder of how one must accept all the flavours of experiences that come with the new year. It emphasises the fact that life is a mix of different experiences. The ingredients of this traditional dish are bananas and jaggery (for the sweetness that signifies happiness), chilly and peppers (for the spice that signifies anger), salt (for the saltiness that signifies fear), raw mango (for its tang that signifies surprise), tamarind (for the sourness that signifies disgust), neem buds and flowers (for the bitterness that signifies sadness). In honour of this festival, You & I shines a spotlight on how different individuals from the city celebrate Ugadi in their own distinct way. – Zainab and Sumana
The History of Ugadi
Ugadi is a spring festival that is celebrated for the nine days of Vasanta Navratri. According to ancient mythology, when the world was created, the four Vedas sprouted from Brahma’s mouth. These four Vedas are responsible for creating the world. It is also believed that one day in the life of Brahma is equal to a whole year in our lives. Seeking Lord Brahma’s blessing on this auspicious day is considered to bring in fortune and good luck in the coming year. Given India’s diverse cultures and communities, the beauty of this festival is that it is celebrated differently across various cities and regions.