According to the Gregorian calendar, the whole world may celebrate New Year on 31st December - 1st January, but according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar, the New Year falls in the month of March or April. This New Year, also known as Ugadi, is celebrated in the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and by other names in many other states of India. The significance of Ugadi stems from mythological times when Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, began a series of wonderful creations, including that of the earth and all the life forms that live in it. The festival of Ugadi is celebrated to acknowledge that very day on which Lord Brahma started with the task. It is not only a New Year according to the Hindu calendar, but also sets the new astronomical cycle into motion. The celebrations and prayers that follow fill people's hearts with joy and contentment.
Leaving the past behind and starting afresh with positive expectation is one of the key aspects of Ugadi. The day also marks the beginning of spring season, which is considered to be the first of all seasons, with plants, shoots, and leaves coming to life and therefore, the day is believed to set things rolling for a fresh and successful new beginning. Devotees perform ritualistic pujas and seek blessings from God for health, wealth, prosperity, and success in businesses and work as well. It is for this reason that it is considered the best time to take on new ventures or personal goals for betterment of oneself. The day is preceded by the pre-Ugadi preparations that begin a few days before the actual day. It includes thoroughly cleaning the entire household and shopping for new clothes and other items that go with the requirements of the festival.
The day starts with devotees waking up before dawn and taking oil baths according to the ritual, after which they decorate their houses: the front with extensively prepared colorful rangolis and the doors and windows with strings of mango leaves that signify good crop and general well-being over the year. Ugadi Pachhadi, a unique dish of six different tastes, from sweet to bitter, is prepared on the day, which is also the first dish to be eaten by the devotees. Made up of neem buds, jaggery, green chili, salt, tamarind juice and unripe mango, the dish signifies different experiences in life that should be absorbed and to keep walking the good walk. It is also a day when mantras, chants and predictions for the coming year are made by the pundits. Apart from people visiting the temples and other gatherings to hear these predictions, live telecast of it from various religious places is aired on television. Family gatherings, feasts, and fanfare follow on this auspicious day of Ugadi.