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Ugadi (Gudi Padwa)

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Overview

The word Ugadi is derived from two different words; ‘Yuga’ that means ‘age’ in Sanskrit and ‘Adi’ that means ‘beginning in both Sanskrit and Kannada. This festival celebrates the New Year in Karnatake. This day is also known as Chandramana Ugadi and refers to the beginning of the New Year according to the Hindu Lunar calendar that usually falls in the months of March and April (as per the Gregorian calendar). This auspicious day involves religious observances and customers. It is customary for people to shop heavily during the months preceding Chaitra (the first month in the Hindu calendar).This day is celebrated with fervor and is also regarded as the herald of the harvest season.

History of Ugadi

The festival of Ugadi marks the beginning of the New Year for those living between Kaveri River and Vindhyas and those who follow the lunar calendar of South India particularly in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. The calendar dates back to the Shalivahana era which is supposed to have been built by the great legend Shalivahana. The king Shalivahana was also referred to as Gautamiputra Satakarni is responsible for initiating the era of Shalivahana. The Lunar calendars have a cycle of sixty years and a New Year starts on the day of Yugadi on Chaitra Sudhdha Paadyami. After the completion of every sixty year the calendar starts with a fresh New Year. During the festival the season of spring is believed to have arrived at its fullest and every where the colours of festivals can be seen. New leaves budding on the trees look amazingly beautiful and utmost zeal and excitement can been seen in the hearts of people celebrating Ugadi. Though, Lord Shiva had cursed Lord Brahma that he will not be worshipped ever but in Andhra Pradesh this festival of Ugadi is specifically celebrated in honour of Lord Brahma. As per the ancient tales, it is believed that Lord Vishnu had taken the form of Matsya. On the day of Ugadi people clean their house and the nearby area and decorate the entrance of their house with mango leaves. And also people buy new clothes for them and for their family members.

Importance Of Ugadi

Ugadi or Yugadi is a term that is derived from the Sanskrit words yuga meaning age and ādi meaning the beginning. So, it means “the beginning of a new age”. Many people say that on the day of Ugadi or Yugadi, Lord Brahma started to create this earth. Do you know that Yugadi is one among the many names of Lord Sri Maha Vishnu? Yugadikrit is his other name that refers to the one who creates Yugas. Therefore, it is the perfect day to worship the Parambrahma who created “Time”. As per the historical records and astrological calculations, Ugadi is the day when Lord Sri Krishna’s Niryaana begun in the early hours of the fortnight of Chaitra and this day marked the beginning of Kalyug. Therefore, Ugadi festival is also linked with the start of Kaliyug. Apart from the factors mentioned above, Ugadi is also a celebration among people as a token of gratitude to nature for providing mankind with every necessary thing. People belonging to the Telugu, Kannada, Kodava and Tulu cultural background in Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala celebrate the festival with great pomp and show. The friends, extended family, and relatives gather and enjoy an eventful day with ugadi wishes and great food. So, Ugadi also celebrates love among people. The day generally starts with ritual showers with perfumed oil and prayers

The Special Ugadi Food & Its Significance:

  • Out of all the special dishes like pulihora, bobbatlu, or New Year burelu, Ugadi Pacchadi is the most important one. This is a chutney that consists of all the five tastes or flavors – sour, bitter, sweet, salty, and tangy. The ingredients of this dish are neem flowers, tamarind paste, jaggery or brown sugar, salt, chili powder, and mango.
  • Ugadi Pacchadi contains all the major tastes and thus it symbolizes the fact that life is a mixture of all these tastes. Salt represents “interests in life” while sweet or jaggery represents “happiness”. Tamarind or sour taste symbolizes “challenges” while neem flowers or bitter taste symbolizes “difficulties in life. Raw mango or tangy taste refers to “surprises or sudden challenges” while chili powder or spicy taste refers to “angry moments” in one’s life.
  • This Ugadi chutney is important also for these facts: neem flowers prevent skin allergies and kill germs and bacteria; jaggery eliminates the chances of anemia; chili powder improves the immune system and renders a better eyesight; tamarind helps in a great digestion; salt helps in keeping the body hydrated; green mango improves blood circulation. The summer month of India is a painful one and this chutney provides the body a natural shield against all summer weaknesses.

Interesting Facts About Makar Sankranti

  • 1. They both are harvest festivals of their respective regions. The day signifies the end of one season and the beginning of another. During this period rabi crop is just harvested and the market prepares itself for mangoes.
  • 2. The day is celebrated as Navreh by Kashmiri Pandits, Cheti Chand by Sindhis and Sajibu Nongma Panba Cheiraoba in Manipur.
  • 3. In many Maharashtrian families, the day begins with the preparation of traditional dishes like Shrikhand and Puran Poli.
  • 4. On the auspicious occasion of Ugadi, an interesting and healthy concoction of six ingredients is made. If experts are to be believed, each ingredient symbolizes an emotion and is to be consumed by the family members. These ingredients and emotions are neem buds/flowers (sadness), jaggery (happiness), green chilli (anger), salt (fear), tamarind (disgust) and unripened mango (surprise).

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