Significance of Ugadi Festival

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Significance of Ugadi/Yugadi Festival

Ugadi (Yugadi) is the New Year’s Day for the Hindus of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka in India. It is festively observed in these regions on the first day of the Hindu Luni-solar calendar month of Chaitra. This typically falls in the end of March or in the beginning of April of the Gregorian calendar.

The name Yugadi or Ugadi is derived from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and ādi (beginning): “the beginning of a new age”

In Maharashtra, the day is celebrated as Gudi Padwa. ‘Gudi’ means doll, Marathis prepare bamboo dolls of mango and neem leaves and hang them on the entrance of their houses.

History of Ugadi

The legend behind this festival is that Lord Brahma created the universe on Ugadi. The nine day long spring festival of Vasanta Navratri (Chaitra Navratri) begins on this day and concludes on Ram Navami. It is believed that the creator of the Hindu pantheon Lord Brahma started creation on this day – ‘Chaitra Suddha Padhyami’ or the Ugadi day. The famed Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya’s astronomical calculations in the 12th century determined the date of Ugadi from the sunrise on as the beginning of the New Year, new month and new day.

Puja Vidhi

The festival is celebrated with a traditional oil-bath. Followed by visiting temples, prayers and having neem with jaggery. As suggested by scriptures, these are the rituals followed by the people. Though, the northern region of India does not celebrate Ugadi, but holds a nine-day long Chaitra Navratri Puja on the same day. Even in north India, the Chaitra Navratri Puja is celebrated by eating Neem with Mishri on the very first day.

How is Ugadi celebrated?

Preparations begin a week in advance and include such as house cleaning, and buying new clothes. The festival marks the first day of the New Year according to the calendar. On the day of Ugadi, a tradition is to get up before dawn for an Abhyang Snana head bath an after massaging with sesame oil.

On this day, people plaster the walls and house-front with fresh cow-dung, draw the Rangoli and decorate doors with mango leaves making torans. Beautiful rangoli designs reflect the onset of spring.

Ugadi signifies the arrival of spring and warmer weather. As such it is a joyous festival signifying growth and prosperity and as with all New Year festivals it is a chance to put the errors of the past behind, make predictions and a good time to start new ventures.

A customary eatery prepared during Ugadi is Bevu Bella (Mixture of Neem and Jaggery), a paste made from jaggery (sugar), neem buds, tamarind juice and raw mango. The paste combines several sweet and sour tastes. These different tastes are intended to remind anyone tasting the paste that life is a mixture of happy and sad events.

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