Ugadi Pachadi with New Year prayer puja tray
|Observed by||Hindus in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana|
|Type||religious (Hindu), social, cultural|
|Celebrations||Kolam-Rangoli, visiting Temples, Feast with Ugadi pachadi|
|Begins||1st day of Chaitra|
|Date||March (generally), April (occasionally)|
|2018 date||Sun, 18 March|
|2019 date||Sat, 9 Apr|
|Related to||Gudi Padwa and other regional Hindu new year day|
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Ugadi (Ugādi, Samvatsarādi, Yugadi) is the New Year's Day for the people of Andhra Pradesh,Telangana and Karnataka states in India. It is festively observed in these regions on the first day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Chaitra. This typically falls in March or April of the Gregorian calendar.
The day is observed by drawing colorful patterns on floor called kolamulus (Telugu: Muggulu, Kannada: Rangoli), mango leaf decorations on doors called toranalu (Kannada: Torana), buying and giving gifts such as new clothes, giving charity to the poor, special bath followed by oil treatment, preparing and sharing a special food called pachadi, and visiting Hindu temples. The pachadi is a notable festive food that combines all flavors – sweet, sour, salty, bitter. In the Telugu and Kannada Hindu traditions, it is a symbolic reminder that one must expect all flavors of experiences in the coming new year and make the most of them.
Ugadi has been important and historic festival of the Hindus, with medieval texts and inscriptions recording major charitable donations to Hindu temples and community centers on this day. The same day is observed as a New Year by Hindus in many other parts of India. For example, it is called Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, but sometimes observed a Gregorian day earlier because the lunar day starts and ends in Hindu calendar according to the position of the moon. In Karnataka, the festival is celebrated as Yugadi.
The name Yugadi or Ugadi is derived from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and ādi (beginning): "the beginning of a new age". Yugadi or Ugadi falls on "Chaitra Shudhdha Paadyami" or the first day of the bright half of the Indian month of Chaitra. This generally falls in late March or early April of the Gregorian calendar.
The Telugu, Kannada, Kodava and the Tulu diaspora in Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala celebrate the festival with great fanfare; gatherings of the extended family and a sumptuous feast are 'de rigueur'. The day begins early with ritual showers, rubbing the body with perfumed oil, followed by prayers.
Preparations for the festival begin a week ahead. Houses are given a thorough clean. People buy new clothes and Dhoti and buy new items for the festival, decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves. Mango leaves and coconuts are considered auspicious in the Hindu tradition, and they are used on Ugadi. People also clean the front of their house with water and cow dung paste, then draw colorful floral designs. People offer prayer in temples. The celebration of Ugadi is marked by religious zeal and social merriment.
Special dishes are prepared for the occasion. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, eatables such as "pulihora, bobbatlu (Bhakshalu/ polelu/ oligalu), New Year Burelu and Pachadi" and preparations made with raw mango go well with the occasion. Of this pachadi (or Ugadi pacchadi) is most notable, and consists of a chutney-like dish which includes ingredients to give all flavors: sweet, sour, tangy and bitter. This festive Hindu food is made from tamarind paste, neem flowers, brown sugar or sweet jaggery, salt, and sometimes mango. It is a symbolic reminder of complex phases of life one should reasonably expect in the new year. According to Vasudha Narayanan, a professor of Religion at the University of Florida:
[The pacchadi festive dish symbolically] reminds the people that the following year – as all of life – will consist of not just sweet experiences, but a combination of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter episodes. Just as the different substances are bound together, one is reminded that no event or episode is wholly good or bad. Even in the midst of bitter experiences, there are sweet moments. One is also reminded that the experience of taste is transitory and ephemeral; so too, is life, and one has to learn to put pain and pleasure in proper temporal perspective.
In Karnataka, jaggery (bella /ಬೆಲ್ಲ ) prepared from the fresh harvest of sugarcane is mixed with the flower buds of the neem tree (bevu / ಬೇವು) and eaten after the pooje, but before lunch. This is called bevu-bella (ಬೇವು-ಬೆಲ್ಲ) and is indicative of the fact that life will always be a mixture of sweetness and bitterness. It is also reminiscent of the philosophy of the Bhagavadgita which imprints on us that one should have a calm equanimity towards life's ups and downs. A Sanskrit shloka that explicates the medicinal and spiritual benefits of the neem is also chanted while chewing this sweet-bitter mixture.
शतायुर्वज्रदेहाय सर्वसंपत्कराय च ।
सर्वारिष्टविनाशाय निम्बकं दलभक्षणम् ॥
"For attaining a strong (diamond hard) body that lasts a hundred years, for obtaining all kinds of wealth, for destroying all negativity, the leaves of neem are to be eaten."
Another practice in Karnataka associated with Yugadi is the panchangashravana (ಪಂಚಾಂಗಶ್ರವಣ).The practice is to worship and read the new panchanga (ಪಂಚಾಂಗ, the almanac) for the upcoming year which lists the fortune of the individuals according to their astrological signs, the rainfall for the year, eclipses that may occur in the year, and a general prediction of the country's affairs.
In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana a special dish called Bobbattu (Polelu) (Puran Poli) (Oliga) are prepared on this occasion. This special dish is called Bhakshalu, Boorelu in which is eaten with fresh ghee in Andhra Pradesh Telangana State. These are eaten along with the Ugadi Pachchadi mentioned earlier. In Karnataka a special dish called obbattu, or Holige (ಹೋಳಿಗೆ / ಒಬ್ಬಟ್ಟು), is prepared. It consists of a filling (gram and jaggery/sugar boiled and made into a paste) stuffed in a flat roti-like bread. It is usually eaten hot or cold with ghee or milk topping or coconut milk at some places of Karnataka.
In Kannada, the greeting is Yugadi Habbada Shubhaashayagalu - ಯುಗಾದಿ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು ("Greetings for the festival of Yugadi") or Hosa varshada shubhashayagalu - ಹೊಸ ವರ್ಷದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು ("Greetings on the New Year").
In Telugu, the traditional greetings for Ugadi are kroththa yeta, ugadi panduga, palukarimpulu or ugadi subhaakankshalu - "క్రొత్త ఏట" / "ఉగాది పండుగ" పలుకరింపులు, లేదా ఉగాది శుభాకాంక్షలు ("Greetings for the festival of Ugadi") and Nutana samvastara shubhaakankshalu -నూతన సంవత్సర శుభాకాంక్షలు ("Greetings on the New Year").
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