Date and Day of the Festival…
Ugadi is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu Luni-Solar Calendar in the month of Chaitra. As per the Gregorian calendar, it falls in the month of March or April. This Indian festival marks the onset of joy, happiness, hope, and light. The Hindu festival Ugadi will be observed on March 22, 2023.
Actually, what is Ugadi means…?
The word Ugadi is derived from two Sanskrit words, “Yuga” meaning age, and “adi” meaning, the beginning. In simple words, it means the beginning of a new age. This festival is celebrated with a lot of gusto and fervor in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It is also celebrated with an undying spirit and enthusiasm in many other parts of our country with different names.
For instance, Ugadi in Maharashtra is celebrated as Gudi Padwa whereas, Ugadi in Karnataka is celebrated as Yugadi. It is interesting to know that the festival of Ugadi marks the beginning of the New Year for people who are particularly living between the Kaveri and Vindhya rivers.
Who is celebrating Ugadi?
Geographically speaking, it is majorly celebrated by the people who live in Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra. As the cold days are left behind and warm, comfortable spring weather sets in, the newer, longer days inspire hope for a prosperous future.
Another major significance of Ugadi is that as per Hindu texts, it is on this day, that Lord Brahma started the creation of the Universe. It was also the day when Lord Rama after returning from an exile of 14 years was crowned the King of Ayodhya. With so many religious, spiritual, and joyous connotations, this festival is celebrated with immense joy in hearts.
“Preparations and Celebration”
- Like any other festival in the country, preparations for this festival also begin almost a week in advance with people cleaning and decorating their houses, and buying new clothes, sweets, gifts, etc.
- Cow dung water is splashed outside houses and colorful floral designs are painted on walls.
- Front doors are decorated with Rangoli, Mango leaves, and red earth as a symbol to welcome all friendly passers-by.
- On the day of the festival, the rituals begin right at the break of dawn with each one having a head bath after massaging sesame oil all over the body.
- Temples and houses are decorated with mango leaves and jasmine flowers
- This is followed by all members gathering together and praying to the Almighty seeking his blessings for a prosperous year ahead. Various other rituals are performed in the puja like:
- Immersing God idols in sesame oil
- Performing aarthi and the senior most lady of the family applying kumkum on the foreheads of all members.
- Offering flowers of Neem, Tamarind, and Jasmine to Gods
- The steps followed in the puja are;Abhisheka, Alankara, Naivedya and Mangalarathi.
- Oota is offered as meals to Gods and then the same is had as Prasad.
- Chanting traditional mantras, conducting havans and asking pundits for future predictions are also common practices followed by many on this day. The PanchangaShravanam is also done at the temples by the priests.
- Prayers are also offered to the Sun and then Vepapoota Pachadi (pickle made from Neem flowers) is had in an empty stomach.
- Later reading of the traditional Panchanga by the elders and respect of the society also takes place at an informal social ceremony called PanchangaSravanam. Traditionally it was done at temples but with the onset of modern technology, it can also be heard through radios and televisions in the comfort of one’s house.
Food – Special Dishes…
- Food too occupies a special place as sumptuous traditional meals comprising of various dishes are prepared in gatherings and enjoyed by all. Dishes that are prepared often have symbolic significance.
- A dish called Bevu Bella is prepared from the paste of tamarind, neem buds, jaggery, and mango. The sweet and sour taste of the dish represents the variety of happy and sad tastes of life.
- Several other dishes are also prepared like the puliogure and holige (obbattu) in Karnataka or similarly pulihora and bobble in Andra Pradesh and puran polis or sweet rotis in Maharashtra.
Organizing Kavi Samelans or poetry competitions is another significant feature of this festival. Budding poets and other people come together to discuss various topics with each other ranging from politics to fashion statements through the art of poetry.
All these rituals and activities clubbed together with the vigour of the festival and beautiful weather give many shades to the festival of Ugadi and hence fill the hearts of all that are a part of it with contentment and joy.
Ugadi festival is the commemoration of the coming of the New Year. It is celebrated every year as it marks the beginning of the Hindi Lunar calendar. Moreover, it brings along happiness, aspirations, and hope. The belief is that this day and its liveliness would foreshadow the course of events for the upcoming year.
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