Yugadi or ugadi Festival
Yugadi or Ugadi is one of the important festival celebrated as New year day in many parts of India. It is mainly celebrated in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. In Maharashtra, it is called as Gudi Padwa. The Marwari people of Rajasthan celebrate the day in the name of Thapna, while in Sindh, people celebrate the day as Cheti Chand, also in Manipur, the day is celebrated as Sajibu Nongma Panba and people of Bali and Indonesia celebrate the day in the name of Nyepi. In these places, Ugadi is celebrated as per chandramana panchanga (Luni solar calendar). Some other states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala, celebrate the new year as per Souramana panchanga, which is when Sun enters Mesha (Aries). Ugadi also marks the beginning of the nine day festival called as Vasanta Navratri, which is mostly celebrated in North India. After nine days, it will end with Rama Navami.
Yugadi means new beginning (i.e. Yuga = era or time and Adi = beginning). Ugadi marks the the beginning of an era or yuga. It is believed that, on this day, the present yuga which is Kali yuga was started. Yugadi starts on Pratipada tithi, Shukla paksha, Chaitra masa, Vasanta rutu on Uttarayana. Here Pratipat or Prathama is the first tithi, Shukla paksha is the first paksha or fortnight, Chaitra is the first masa or month, Vasant is the first ritu or season and Uttarayana is the first among ayanas in the calendar. Therefore it is coinciding with the starting point in a calendar.
Traditions and Significance
Preparations for Ugadi starts well in advance. People start shopping for new clothes and other household items and they will clean entire house and surroundings. On the day of Ugadi, everyone take oil bath which is called as ‘Tailabhyangana’. People decorate the houses and entrance with mango leaves and toranas. Special rangolis are put using coloured powders and flowers. Head of the family will perform special puja to the family deity. Everyone will perform ritualistic worship and take the blessing from the God. Special sweet dishes will be prepared for the ‘Naivedyam’. Everyone will pray to God for the wellbeing with health and wealth.
It is customary to eat special food prepared called as Bevu-Bella or ugadi Pacchadi, which is made from jaggery, neem leaves, tamarind and raw mango. This is the mixture of sweet and sour taste, which signify life is the mixture of good and bad events and we have to take both in right spirit.
Another important tradition of the day is Panchang Shravanam, which includes priest or pundit will be reading the almanac about yearly forecasts, prediction of weather, monsoon. Kavi Sammelan or poetry recitation is another feature of Ugadi. It is the occasion for budding and experienced poets to showcase their talents.