UGADI

According to Hindu Mythology, the sixty Telugu Namasamvastharas are being repeated from time to time.

It is believed that the creator of the Hindu pantheon Lord Brahma started creation on this day - Chaitra suddha padhyami or the Ugadi day. Also the great Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya's calculations proclaimed the Ugadi day from the sunrise on as the beginning of the new year,new month and new day. The onset of spring also marks a beginning of new life with plants(barren until now) acquiring new life, shoots and leaves. Spring is considered the first season of the year hence also heralding a new year and a new beginning. The vibrancy of life and verdent fields, meadows full of colorful blossoms signifies growth, prosperity and well-being.

‘Ugadi’ as the name ‘Yug-Adi’ suggests is celebrated on the first day of the first month of Telugu Year i.e. Chaitram. This day is celebrated as New Year Day by the people of Andhra Pradesh. This day is known for its 'Ugadi Pacchadi' preparation comprising of six tastes (shadruchi sammelan), each standing for a special character a man experiences in life. The ingredients of this preparation, though of different tastes or characters when mixed in definite proportions result in a delicious dish. The underlying idea conveys that the six faces of life mentioned underneath, should be handled by man and balanced in such a way as to make his life a beautiful one on earth.

Ingrediant Taste Message
1 Jaggery Sweet Adds happiness to life
2 Salt Salty Adds taste to life
3 Neem flowers Bitter Unhappy moments in life
4 Tamarind Sour Disgraceful sad moments in life
5 Raw Mango Pieces Sour Disgraceful sad moments in life
6 Chilli powder Hot Angry moments in life

People celebrating this festival are supposed to wake up early in the morning at about 5 am. and have a head bath. Being a new festival it demands kith and kin to wear new clothes. Elder woman of the house prepares Ugadi Pacchadi Prasadam (Ugadi Sammelan) and distributes it to all the members of the family chanting the following sloka:

Prasadam is to be taken with an empty stomach as to have a balanced life all through the year. A delicious lunch comprising of Garelu, Pulihora (Yellow rice), Payasam(Kheer), etc. follows.

This auspicious day is also known for its "Panchang Sravanam" chanted by Veda Pandits. Panchaang contains astronomical data relating to the position of the Sun, The Moon, Planets, Stars and details of Eclipses, Occultations, Raasi results, Muhurtams etc. for one complete year (usually from April to March).

It is a customary practice to attend the temple in the evening of this day where a Siddhanthi (Pandit) recites Panchanga Sravanam. The yearly fore cast for the country as a whole, different places and people basing on Raasis will be predicted. It is believed that listening to Panchanga Sravanam does good to the people.

Preparing for the Occasion

Preparations for the festival begin a week ahead. Houses are given a thorough wash. Shopping for new clothes and buying other items that go with the requirements of the festival are done with a lot of excitement.

Ugadi is celebrated with festive fervor in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. While it is called Ugadi in A.P. and Karnataka, in Maharashtra it is known as "Gudipadava".

On Ugadi day, people wake up before the break of dawn and take a head bath after which they decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves. The significance of tying mango leaves relates to a legend. It is said that Kartik (or Subramanya or Kumara Swamy) and Ganesha, the two sons of Lord Siva and Parvathi were very fond of mangoes. As the legend goes Kartik exhorted people to tie green mango leaves to the doorway signifying a good crop and general well-being.

It is noteworthy that we use mango leaves and coconuts (as in a Kalasam, to initiate any pooja) only on auspicious occasions to propitiate gods. People also splash fresh cow dung water on the ground in front of their house and draw colorful floral designs. This is a common sight in every household. People perform the ritualistic worship to God invoking his blessings before they start off with the new year. They pray for their health, wealth and prosperity and success in business too. Ugadi is also the most auspicious time to start new ventures.

The celebration of Ugadi is marked by religious zeal and social merriment. Special dishes are prepared for the occasion. In Andhra Pradesh, eatables such as "pulihora", "bobbatlu" and preparations made with raw mango go well with the occasion. In Karnataka too, similar preparations are made but called "puliogure" and "holige". The Maharashtrians make "puran poli" or sweet rotis.

Season For Pickles

With the raw mango available in abundance only during the two months (of April/May), people in Andhra Pradesh make good use of mangoes to last them until the next season. They pickle the mangoes with salt, powdered mustard and powdered dry red chilli and a lot of oil to float over the mangoes. This preparation is called "avakai" and lasts for a whole year.

Mangoes and summer season go hand in hand. Ugadi thus marks the beginning of the hot season which coincides with the school vacations. For the young ones, therefore, Ugadi is characterised by new clothes, sumptuous food and revelling. The air is filled with joy, enthusiasm and gaiety. Some people participate in social community gatherings and enjoy a tranquil evening with devotional songs (bhajans).

Kavi Sammelanam

Kavi Sammelanam (poetry recitation) is a typical Telugu Ugadi feature. Ugadi is also a time when people look forward to a literary feast in the form of Kavi Sammelanam. Many poets come up with new poems written on subjects ranging - from Ugadi - to politics to modern trends and lifestyles.

Ugadi Kavi Sammelanam is also a launch pad for new and budding poets. It is generally carried live on All India Radio's Hyderabad "A" station and the Doordarshan,(TV) Hyderabad following "panchanga sravanam" (New year calendar) narrating the way the new year would shape up in the lives of people and the State in general. Kavis (poets) of many hues - political, comic, satirical reformist, literary and melancholic - make an appearance on the Ugadi stage. Ugadi is thus a festival of many shades. It ushers in the new year, brings a rich bounce of flora and fills the hearts of people with joy and contentment.

UGADI PACHCHADI

Ingredients:

2 tea spoon broken new jaggery / brown sugar.
1 1/2 tea spoon new tamarind .
1 1/2 tea spoon mango pieces chopped small.
1 tea spoon neem flowers.
1 cup water.

Method:

Soak Tamarind for about 15-20 minutes in a cup of water. Extract tamarind juice by squeezing the pulp and straining the juice from it. Dissolve the broken new jaggery into it. Then add the tiny mango pieces and the neem flowers. This is usually offered to the Gods during pooja and later everyone part takes this as prasadam and the first item to be eaten on Ugadi day.

 

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