Ugadi — a day to celebrate new beginnings and pray for prosperity and happiness.
This festival, which is celebrated across three states — Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra — is believed to be the result of a common dynasty that ruled the Deccan region in the past.
Significance of Ugadi
The word Ugadi means the beginning of the new age. It refers to the Kaliyuga age, which we are living in now that began after the passing away of Krishna. Ugadi is the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, which falls in April or March. Chaitra is the first month in the Hindu calendar, and Ugadi marks the beginning of the New Year. It is also the day when there is a change in the moon’s orbit. Ugadi is celebrated a day after the first new moon and after the sun crosses the celestial equator on the spring equinox.
A look at the history
In Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana, the Ugadi festival symbolizes the new year. They celebrate the beginning of the spring day-long performing traditions and rituals. Ugadi mythology is based on Lord Brahma’s creation of the universe too. He went on to create days, weeks, and months to keep track of the time. The first day of creation is believed to be Ugadi. The literal meaning of the word “Ugadi” originates from a Yugadi in the Sanskrit language, which is merged from the words Yuga (which means a period of time) and Adi (which means the beginning). So Ugadi means the beginning of time.
A Feast this Ugadi
Like every other Indian festival, Ugadi is rich in its culinary delicacies. While the ubiquitous dish of the festivities is the Ugadi Pachadi, an amalgam of six different tastes is a translucent drink made of raw mango, tamarind, neem flowers, jaggery, salt, green chillies and water. Pachadi in Telugu translates to chutney, a dish that tends to represent a variety of flavours. According to folklore, the unique mixture symbolises the happiness and sorrow of life. The point is to learn how to keep up with the varying emotions of life.
Ugadi Pachadi is the first delicacy that is consumed on the day of the festival, even before coffee. The preparation is typically consumed early in the morning on an empty stomach.
While the Ugadi Pachadi is also offered to God as Naivedyam, the festivities include a plethora of delicacies that are bound to tickle all your taste buds. Whether it is Pulihora, a tamarind rice dish, Mavinakai Chitranna, a rice-based raw mango dish or Obbattu, a sweet flaky chapati filled with Bengal gram, grated jaggery, and grated coconut, the dishes served on the festival will leave your mouth watering. Some other dishes include Paramannam (a rice pudding dessert), Badam Halwa (Almond based sweet), Atukulu Payasam (Rice Flakes Kheer), Belllam Garelu (Jaggery Vadas), Boorelu, (dumplings made with rice flour and jaggery), Chandrakantalu (moong dal based deep fried sweet). Kajjikayalu (deep-fried pastry with coconut sugar stuffing), and Sorakaya Payasam (Bottle Gourd Kheer).
Gudi Padwa, the Spring Time
March 22, also marks another festival that is as significant, Gudi Padwa. The day, which is assumed to be mainly a festival of the Marathis, has more to it than just that. This celebration implies spring’s arrival. There are some mythical legends related to this New year celebration. In one of them, they say when a raging diluvium happened, suddenly time stopped, and all the creatures were killed. Brahma Purana, one of the Hindu holy scriptures, recreated the universe full of justice and honesty on Gudi Padwa.
For a nation that takes great pride in its agricultural prowess, Gudi Padwa is an extremely important harvest festival.
The Gudi Padwa festivities in Maharashtra include regional delicacies like shrikhand, puri and puran poli. Whereas, for the Konkanis, the festival is synonymous with dishes like kanangachi kheer, which is an Indian dessert made of sweet potato, coconut milk, jaggery and rice Much like every other festival, the origins of Gudi Padwa have more than one version. On one hand, it is considered to be the brainchild of the great Maratha warrior, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj; on the other, it is said to mark the day when Brahma created the world after the great flood. Gudi Padwa also marks the onset of the Vasanta Ritu or the spring season.
But what is a Gudi? It is a stick that is covered in a beautiful, bright cloth covered with an inverted silver or copper pot. Gudi Padwa has Maharashtrian households place the Gudi at the entrance of their houses.