Ugadi is celebrated as the beginning of a new year by the people of Andhra Pradesh with vigour and devotion, especially in the southern regions of the country. It is also known as Yugadi in the state of Karnataka. According to Hindu religion, there is a cycle of 60 years and on this day a new Samvatsara begins. All 60 Samvatsaras are identified by unique names. In Maharashtra, people celebrate the day as Gudi Padwa. This year, it falls on March 18.
The day is considered very auspicious as it is believed that on this very day Lord Brahma had created the universe, and that is why this day also marks the beginning of the Satyayug. Not only that, it also marks the beginning of Chaitra Navratri, that leads up to Ram Navami, Lord Rama’s birthday, which is celebrated on the ninth day.
As is the case with most festivals, people clean their home and welcome their new year with traditional decorations. Garlands of flowers and mango leaves are hung all over and colourful rangolis are made at the main gate of the house. People begin their day by taking a traditional, holy oil-bath and by offering their prayers to the gods. One peculiarity of the festival is that people consume neem leaves. In some places, people are even known to make a paste of the neem leaves which is mixed with coriander seeds, jaggery and tamarind. It is believed that consuming this concoction purifies the blood and increases one’s immunity to fight diseases.
The festival is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month in the Hindu luni-solar calendar.
Here are the puja timings for the festival, according to Drikpanchang.com
Pratipada Tithi Begins at 6:41 pm on March 17, 2018.
Pratipada Tithi Ends at 6:41 on March 18, 2018.