India is the country with full of festivals all over the year. Festival means full of merriment, new dresses and special dishes, amusement with friends and relatives. All the members of the family gathered and entertainment and enjoyment are followed by the blessings of the elders.
Ugadi means “the beginning of a new age”. Usually Ugadi is celebrated either at the end of March or in April, first week, in the month of Chaitra which is the first month of the New Year. Ugadi is derived from the Sanskrit word Uga means NEW and so the beginning of the New Year is celebrated in the name of Ugadi. It is celebrated with festive fervor in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and also it is given more importance in Madyapradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Assam too.
While it is called Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, in Maharashtra it is known as “Gudipadawa”. In other states such as in Punjab, it is celebrated in the name of Baisaki, in Tamil Nadu “Puthandu”, in Kerala “Vishu” Poila Baishak in West Bengal and “Bihu” in Assam. Though, this festival is given different names in various States, it is celebrated in the same manner with much gusto.
On this day people wake up early in the morning and take oil bath decorate their houses with mango leaves as a sign of good and general wellbeing.. People perform the ritualistic worship to God invoking his blessings before they start with the New Year. They pray for their health, wealth and prosperity.
Ugadi is also the most auspicious time to start new ventures. It is believed that the Creator God, Lord Brahma began the creation of the Universe on this auspicious day, that is the Chaitra month, the first day of the New Year. Besides, the calculations of the great Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya had proclaimed that Ugadi day is the beginning of the New Year, New month and New day.
Nature also emphasizes the significance of this day as the onset of spring also marks a beginning of new life with plants, acquiring new life, shoots and leaves. The withering of older leaves and blossoming of new ones marks and means that the ruins of the past and welcoming the new good things and thoughts in the New Year that is on Ugadi. The prosperity of wellbeing is denoted like the meadows full of colorful blossoms signify growth, prosperity and well-being and The New Year Ugadi will also give the same.
Ugadi marks a change in the lunar orbit too so the Spring is enjoyed when Mother Nature awakes from her deep slumber to give birth to new plants and cover earth in a blanket of green It is denoted and believed that on the day the lunar orbit also changes and it gives numerous changes on this Earth and forecast of upcoming year is predicted and so the highlight of this function comes close in afternoon by reading the Panchanga Shravanam –that is hearing of the New Era, and People collect at one place to listen the forecast for various sectors of the social life and the strengths and effects of various constellations and their transitions. And offer prayers to the Almighty Sun also.
In Maharashtra this day celebrated as Gudi Padwa. Hoisting of Gudi is the typical way of celebrating Ugadi in Maharashtra. Gudi is a bamboo pole decorated with flowers, neem leaves, mango leaves, bright colored cloth and covered by inverting copper or silver vessel. It is hoisted outside the house symbolizing Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana and his return to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.
The Sindhis celebrates this festival as Cheti Chand on their New Year’s day. This falls on the second day of month Chaitra and is known as Chet in the Sindhi language. Hence, it is known as Chet-Chand. It comes a day after Ugadi and Gudu Padwa. On this day, Sindihs worship lord Varuna, the God of Rain. So, it is considered as Thanksgiving day for them.
Delicacies are the highlight of any festival apart from their customary celebration and they are a grand part of the celebration. Sweets and other delicacies are a highlight in this festive affair as well. Special dishes are prepared and enjoyed by the people to mark the festival with fulfillment.
Even though many sweets and special dishes are prepared, the Ugadi Pachadi is the most important one since it is a mixture of raw mangoes, fresh tamarind, veppampoo (cute tiny neem flowers) salt followed by fresh Jaggery seasoned with mustard and red mirch. This pachadi which has sweet and sour taste denotes the significance of life, which is a mixture of joy and sorrow, and good and bad. As one enjoys the pachadi life’s ups and downs are to be evenly balanced.
In Andhra Pradesh “Pulihora“, “Bobbatlu” are the top among savouries in Karnataka too, similar preparations are made but called “Puliogure” and “Holige”. The Maharashtrians “Puran Poli” or sweet ‘Rotis’ is the popular sweet.
This festival comes to an end with Ugadi Kavi Sammelanam with given an opportunity to budding poets from the renowned ones. All India Radio, Hyderabad and the Doordarshan – Hyderabad, telecast the Kavi Sammalenam following “Panchangasravanam” (New year calendar) narrating the way the New Year would shape up in the lives of people and the state in general. ‘Kavis’ or poets of many hues – political, comic, satirical reformist, literary and melancholic make an appearance on the Ugadi stage.
Ugadi is the festival of many shades and significance and it brings new resolutions in the upcoming New Year and hearts are filled with joy and contentment and with joy and gaiety. As in the changes of Nature in four stages we should accept and learn that everything with the good grace and welcome everything equity and happiness and all the experiences are to be treated with equality. Consider everything as for one’s own good. Men should rise above sorrow and happiness, success and failure. This is the primary message of the Ugadi festival.