Ugadi which falls on March 18 this year is an important festival that is celebrated by the people from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. As India is known for its versatile culture and the way it is celebrated, even the New Year fest has different names and times in different parts of the country. A festival that is known by the name of Gudi Parva in Maharashtra, is celebrated as Ugadi in some other states.
Clear with its name Udagi, which is literally translated as the start of the new calendar Yug (new) and adi (the beginning), falls on the first day of Chaitra- the first month in Hindi calendar.
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 the betterment of oneself.
The festival is celebrated with much pomp and preparations for it begin days before when people clean and paint their house for the New Year. To mark the festival people first take a traditional oil-bath followed by prayers. As suggested by scriptures, oil bath and eating of neem leaves are some rituals followed by the people.
Though, the northern region of the country does not celebrate Ugadi but holds a nine-day long Chaitra Navratri Puja on the same day. Even in north India, the Chaitra Navratri Puja is celebrated by eating Neem with Mishri on the very first day.
Ugadi celebrations end in the evening when people gather around to listen to the religious panchangam or almanac of the New Year.
As no celebration is complete with special food, Gudi Padwa is no exception. Traditionally, Maharashtrian make and eat Sakkar Bhaat (sweet rice), Shrikhand and Puri and Puran Poli on this day. The Konkanis make Kanangachi Kheer which is a sweet dish made of sweet potato, coconut milk, jaggery and rice.
- Neem Buds/flower -Sadness
- Salt- Fear
- Green chilli- Anger
- Unripened Mango- Surprise
- Tamarind- Disgust
- Jaggery- Happiness
The day is also believed to be auspicious for 'Vaastu puja' and for beginning new business ventures.