Preparations for the Ugadi Festival
Preparations for the Ugadi Festival
The festival of Ugadi is one of the most auspicious times for undertaking any activity in the Deccan part of the country since it is the Telugu New Year. Ugadi comes from Sanskrit word Yugadi; Yug meaning era, and aadi meaning beginning, thereby signifying the beginning of a new year. It is believed that Lord Bhrama- the God of creation in Hindu trinity started creating the world on this day. This is also the time when spring sets in filling the face of earth with flora all around.
The date of this festival is determined according to the Saka calendar and is frequently changing according to the solar cycles. The Ugadi falls on the first day of the month of chaitra which generally occurs in the month of March or April. It will be celebrated on 8th of April this year.
It is perversely adhered to by wide diasporas of people in states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, etc. and coincides with the festivals of GudiPadwa celebrated in Maharashtra, Thapna in Rajasthan and ChetiChand in Sindh which are celebrated on the same day. The Hindus of Indonesia and Bali also celebrate their new year on the same day.
Preparations and Celebration
- Like any other festival in the country, preparations for this festival also begin almost a week in advance with people cleaning and decorating their houses, buying new clothes, sweets, gifts, etc.
- Cow dung water is splashed outside houses and colourful floral designs are painted on walls.
- Front doors are decorated with Rangoli, Mango leaves and red earth as a symbol to welcome all friendly passersby.
- On the day of the festival, the rituals begin right at the break of dawn with each one having a head bath after massaging sesame oil all over the body.
- Temples and houses are decorated with mango leaves and jasmine flowers
- This is followed by all members gathering together and praying to the almighty seeking his blessings for a prosperous year ahead. Various other rituals are performed in the puja like:
- Immersing God idols in sesame oil
- Performing aarthi and the senior most lady of the family applying kum-kum on the foreheads of all members.
- Offering flowers of Neem, Tamarind and Jasmine to Gods
- The steps followed in the puja are;Abhisheka, Alankara, Naivedya and Mangalarathi.
- Oota is offered as meals to Gods and then the same is had as Prasad.
- Chanting traditional mantras, conducting havans and asking pundits for future predictions are also common practices followed by many on this day. The PanchangaShravanam is also done at the temples by the priests.
- Prayers are also offered to the Sun and then VepapootaPachadi (pickle made from Neem flowers) is had in an empty stomach.
- Later reading of the traditional Panchanga by the elders and respected of the society also takes place at an informal social ceremony called PanchangaSravanam. Traditionally it was done at temples but with onset of modern technology it can also be heard through radios and televisions in the comfort of ones houses.
- Food too occupies a special place as sumptuous traditional meals comprising of various dishes are prepared in gatherings and enjoyed by all. Dishes that are prepared often have symbolic significance. For eg;
- A dish called Bevu Bella is prepared from the paste of tamarind, neem buds, jiggery and mango. The sweet and sour taste of the dish represents the variety of happy and sad tastes of life.
- Several other dishes are also prepared like the puliogure and holige (obbattu) in Karnataka or similarly pulihora and bobbatlu in Andra
Pradesh and puran polis or sweet rotis in Maharahstra.
- Organizing Kavi Samelans or poetry competitions is another significant feature of this festival. Budding poets and other people come together to discuss various topics with each other ranging from politics to fashion statements through the art of poetry.
All these rituals and activities clubbed together with the vigor of the festival and beautiful weather give many shades to the festival of Ugadi and hence fill hearts of all that are a part of it with contentment and joy.