Ugadi, also known as Yugadi, is a Hindu festival celebrated by the people of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh with much vigor. Yug means new era and Adi means beginning; together it means beginning of a new era. In other words, it also means the beginning of a new astronomical cycle. The festival falls in the spring season and marks the first day of the New Year, which is the first day of Chaitra (March or April), the first month of the traditional Hindu calendar. But since the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar, Ugadi falls on different dates every year and is also one of the most important festivals of the Hindus. Legend has it that it was on this day that the Creator of Hindu Pantheon, Lord Brahma, began his auspicious creation and created the Earth, and set days, nights, dates, weeks, fortnights, months, seasons and years to count the time.
Preparation for Ugadi begins a day or two before the actual date with people washing and cleaning their houses; buying new clothes is also one of the many traditions. On the day of Ugadi, people, especially of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, take an extensive ritualistic shower or oil bath followed by partaking in prayers for good health and prosperity in the coming year. Then as the day moves on, people decorate their houses with mango leaves and rangolis, and Ugadi Pachhadi (Telegu) or Bevu Bella (Kannada), a unique dish of a specific mixture with six different tastes is also prepared. The dish symbolizes different experiences ranging from sweet to bitter and that everyone should learn from these experiences and continue with life's journey. Later in the day, the event of Panchanga Sravanam is organized in many temples and cultural and religious gatherings are held, whereby predictions for the coming year are made.
Also held in many parts of these two states are Kavi Sammelans (poetic recitals), literary discussions, appreciation of authors for their literary work through awards and recognitions, and recitals of Carnatic music and classical dances. The day is considered a promising one to begin new ventures. Apart from being celebrated in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, Ugadi is also celebrated in many other states of India and goes by different names. In Maharashtra it goes by the name of Gudi Padwa, Sindhis celebrate it on the same day as Cheti Chand, in Punjab it is celebrated as Baisakhi, as Vishu in Kerala, and as Puthandu in Tamil Nadu. Names may be different, but one common thing that connects all the states with this festival is that, it is celebrated with much fanfare, sumptuous feasts, and delightful family gatherings. In 2017, Ugadi falls on Tuesday Mar 28.
Ugadi 2017: Tuesday Mar 28.