To mark the beginning of the ‘New Year,’ Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra celebrate Ugadi. It takes place on the first day of the Hindu calendar’s Chaitra month which usually falls in March or April. The festival is held on 22 March this year. It symbolises new beginnings, prosperity and the triumph of “good over evil.”
The term ‘Ugadi,’ also known as ‘Yugadi,’ is derived from the Sanskrit words ‘Yuga’ and ‘Adi,’ which means ‘the beginning of a new age’. Devotees decorate their homes with mango leaves, draw rangoli, buy ethnic clothing, and distribute food and clothing to the poor on this day. Traditional dishes include Ugadi Pachadi (chutney), Pulihora (lemon rice), Bobbatlu, Bevu Bella, and others. In Maharashtra, this day is known as Gudi Padwa, and in Karnataka, it is known as Yugadi.
The significance of Ugadi
In South India, Ugadi is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm. It is thought that Lord Brahma has created this world on this day, so it is believed one of the most auspicious days of the year. Ugadi also heralds the arrival of spring which represents renewal, growth, and prosperity. On this auspicious day, people pray in temples and eat neem leaves. In some areas, devotees also make a neem leaf paste with jaggery, coriander seeds and tamarind. According to the ancient texts consuming neem purifies blood function and boosts immunity to fight disease. Aside from neem, green chilli and pepper can also help us to control our temper.
Bath in traditional oil
Taking an oil bath on Ugadi is one of the traditional practises. On Ugadi, it is widely believed that Goddess Lakshmi is present in the oil and Goddess Ganga is present in the water. On this day, devotees seek blessings from both goddesses.
Popular ‘Ugadi’ cuisine
‘Ugadi Pachadi’ is a popular ‘Ugdi’ dish in states such as Telangana and Andhra Pradesh (chutney). This drink contains all six tastes, which represent the various experiences of life: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Consuming this food item on Ugadi is thought to bring good luck and prosperity throughout the year.
Every region has its own set of preferences. People in Karnataka prepare ‘Bevu Bella,’ which is very popular among the locals. On this occasion, people eat a mixture of neem leaves and jaggery.
If you want to learn more about South Indian traditions and foods, you can visit the places where Ugadi is celebrated.