Ugadi or Yugadi, the festival reserved to celebrate the commencement of New Year, is a day especially celebrated with huge fun and fervor in Deccan regions of India. It is assumed that Lord Brahma, the creator of the world began His creation on this day. The first day of bright half of the lunar month Chaitra is considered to be the day for Ugadi celebration, which generally falls in the months of March - April of the English calendar. The festival of Ugadi also welcomes the spring season when nature seem to be immersed in the festive mood and new leaves and new buds along with fresh breeze of spring manifold the Ugadi spirit. Scroll down the article to learn how the festivity is honored and rejoiced in several parts of India. Have a look.
Ugadi Celebrations in India
The day is dedicated to Lord Brahma, the great creator of the world who began creation on this very day. It is also a belief among Hindus that Lord Vishnu incarnated in Matsya avatar on this day. As one of the major festivals of Andhra Pradesh, it gathers huge attention of public as well as the media. Celebration includes cleaning of house and surrounding, decorating entrances with green mango leaves, buying new clothes for family and various other rituals. They wake up early morning and use Sesame oil to massage their head and body, post which they take head wash and visit temples to offer their prayers. People make delicious dishes on this day which they share with their loved ones. Some places like Telangana celebrate the festival for three days.
The day marks the beginning of the New Year and is considered to bring new hopes and happiness in life. At this auspicious occasion of commencement of spring, people make garlands of sweet scented Jasmine and offer them to God. They visit temples and offer prayers with sincerity while priests chant various mantras, developing spiritual aroma in surroundings. People whitewash their homes and decorate them with fresh mango leaves and flowers and they also practice the ritual of placing Kalasha beside their doors with coconut leave on it. For peace and harmony of their homes, they sprinkle cow dung water in front of their homes and make attractive Rangolis. Delicious dishes including Ugadi Pachchadi, Puliogure and Holidge are prepared for this occasion. At many places Bhakti songs and Kavi Sammelan are also held to give a platform to new blood so that they can reflect their literature and culture.
Ugadi is famous as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, where it is believed that new ventures started on this day or purchases made give fruitful results. In Maharashtra, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is remembered on this day, so the day is seen as one depicting valiant Marathas who return home after a glorious victory in war. They raise swastika marked metal pot tied with a silk cloth which exhibits their victory and joy after successful expeditions in war.
On this day, after washing and cleaning their home, people decorate it with fresh green mango leaves and rangolis. They visit temples to offer prayers and distribute bitter Neem leaves as Prasad.
The day is known as 'Cheti Chand' among Sindhi people and it is seen as the birthday of Water God, (Varun devta) Sai Uderolal or Jhulelal. He is considered to appear on material earth to protect Sindhis from dictatorship of a ruler and saved Sindhi culture and Hinduism. The day is celebrated by worshipping water gods - Lord Jhulelal and Behrano Sahib; Chej, the folk dance of Sindhis is also performed on this day.
Manipur knows Ugadi by 'Sajibu Cheiraoba', where 'Sajibu' refers to first of all the six seasons that make a year and 'Cheiraoba' means end of a year leading to beginning of another. Hence, the spirit and motive behind the celebration is same in Manipur as in other states, only the way of celebration and the name of festival differ.
On the day of Sajibu Cheiraoba, Manipuri people start rituals very early in the morning. Women of the house prepare Athelpot with the help of fine whole rice, raw vegetables, flowers and fruits of new season which is meant for offering to Lainingthou Sanamahi and Leimarel Ima Sidabi placed on southwest and middle north corner of the house respectively. Post prayers, food is cooked and offered to God spirits Hanu-Kokchao and Hanu Leikham with a prayer to protect the well-being of their house. At the fire place, Emoinu Ima is offered food in round-cut plantain leaves to defend the family from sorrows in the coming year. After rituals and prayers, whole family dines together, while married people visit their parents; this way the festival serves in strengthening the bonds in family.