Ugadi Festival: Some Tidbits about the Famous Hindu New Year Celebration

According to the Hindu calendar, the day known as Ugadi or Yugadi, which is also referred to as Samvatsardi, is the day that marks the beginning of the new year and is celebrated in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka. The word "Ugadi" means "the beginning of a new age." The first day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Chaitra is the day on which this spring festival is celebrated in these areas with a lot of revelries. According to our Gregorian calendar, it falls somewhere between late March and early April. On this day, people are eager to begin new endeavors, as it is seen as an excellent time to kick off significant initiatives. As with most Hindu spring festivals, Ugadi is a time for new beginnings. The longer, brighter days bring a sense of renewal and hope for the future success of one's work, relationships, and spirituality. This festival is known as Ugadi in the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and Gudipadawa in Maharashtra.

Legends about Ugadi:

There are various legends associated with the origin of the Ugadi festival. The story about how the universe as we know it came into being may be the most significant one of the Ugadi holiday. It is said that when Lord Brahma awoke from his meditation, he immediately began the process of creating the universe.

Ugadi is the fateful day when Lord Brahma set out to create the world. This was the day that Lord Brahma's mind became the incubator for the conception of all living and nonliving things that have ever existed. Thus, Ugadi is not only a time to remember the day Brahma began creating the universe but also a time to recommit to or reconsider our yogic and meditative practices. It is the reason this spring festival is symbolic of 'new beginning'.

Many people also celebrate Ugadi because it marks the day Rama was formally crowned king, an event that represented the triumph of good over evil and the start of peaceful times for the people of Ayodhya.

Ugadi Traditions:

As with any other hindu festival, Ugadi is an occasion filled with a lot of traditions and rituals. And these traditions often vary from one state to another. But the spirit of the occasion is still the same everywhere that celebrates renewed vigor and hope.

  • A week before the festival, preparations begin. The women of the house begin the preparations by giving the home a thorough cleaning. Sacred cow dung is often used for cleaning. People celebrate the spirit of the festival by going shopping for new clothes for themselves and their loved ones. On this day, people get up before the sun completely rises to give themselves a head bath. It is customary to massage the whole body with sesame oil before taking a bath.

  • Looking at one's reflection in a bowl of hot ghee is considered a lucky ritual during Ugadi.

  • Abhyang refers to the practice of bathing a statue of God in oil which is a common practice followed in the observance of Ugadi.

  • The family's elderly women perform aarti after applying kumkum to everyone in the family. This ritual is known as Enne(oil) Shastra.

  • During festive times, almost every home engages in the ritual of puja. There are four parts to the Ugadi puja: the abhisheka, the naivedya, the mangalarathi, and the alankara.

  • As part of a traditional flower offering, devotees traditionally give God various flowers such as tamarind, nim and mango. After the completion of the Puja ritual, the Panchang for the New Year is worshiped in the hopes of bringing good fortune throughout the year. This is followed by either the Gudi Puja or the Indra Dhwaja Puja.

  • On Ugadi, as on many other Indian festivals, people buy and wear brand-new outfits to celebrate the start of a new and joyful year.

  • Kemmannu flowers, mango leaves, and vibrant Rangolis adorn the front door during Ugadi celebrations.

  • By sharing a meal of neem and jaggery, people wish for a future full of joyous, heartwarming experiences. The name of this dish is Bevu Bella.

  • On the festival of Ugadi, the first food eaten is an offering to the gods, known as Prasad.

  • To seek the divine's favor, worshippers frequent religious temples with the belief that doing so will make God happy.

  • Pachadi is a famous dish served during Ugadi celebrations because it incorporates all types of flavors, including sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and piquant. In the Hindu traditions of Telugu and Kannada, it serves as a symbolic reminder that one must anticipate all flavors of experiences in the coming new year and make the most of them when they occur.

Some Regional Customs of Ugadi:

  • As with any significant holiday, there are customs associated with this one as well. Evenings are spent gazing at the new moon in the villages of Tumakuru and Chitradurga. A good harvest is expected to occur in the direction of the moon's upper end, while a mediocre harvest is predicted to occur in the direction of the moon's lower end.

  • Sides are referred to as horns in the Kanakapura region, while the two ends are known as the "golden horn" and the "rice horn," respectively. It's the horn's location each year that determines which of these two will be more expensive. The Hindu almanac, or panchanga, is read aloud to the village elders on the same day. Horoscope questions are also asked on these occasions, alongside those about the weather and the harvest.

  • The festival of Ugadi is a time for farmers in North Karnataka to perform a symbolic plowing of the land. The term for this is "gale hodeyuvudu." People are also seen putting neem leaves into the hot water used for oil baths. The festival is known as Gudi Padwa in the Nippani region, where Marathi culture is more prominent. On that particular day, a wooden pole is erected in front of each dwelling. The pole is topped with a copper pot and decorated with neem leaves.

  • Ugadi also features the germination test, an intriguing custom. Farmers plant nine varieties of grain in a bamboo basket containing soil and cow dung nine days before the festival. This arrangement is known as Jagara. The seeds are then watered daily. On the day of the festival, the jagaras are gathered together and the village elders inspect each one. When planning for the next growing season, they evaluate the sprouts to determine which crop will be the most successful.


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