Understanding Ugadi The Telugu New Year

CULTURE: Ugadi is the New Year Day for the Telugu speaking people, the festival is observed on the first day of the Chaitra month according to the Hindu calendar Pramādeecha 2077 and typically falls in the month of March or April as Gregorian calendar. 

Ugadi, is the Hindu New Year (Telugu Samvatsara) is celebrated on March 25.

For the Telugu & Kannada speaking people, an ordinary Ugadi morning begins with an extensive oil bath. Rangolis or kolams are drawn in front of homes and doors and windows are decorated with a ‘thorana’ – mango leaves strung together. The green mango leaves tied to the doorway signify a good crop and general well being. Then, it is time for the preparation of the famous ‘Ugadi Pachadi’ of Andhra Pradesh. In Karnataka, it is the ‘Bevu Bella.’

It is the season when the aroma of raw mangoes spreads its aroma around you and the full blossomed Neem (moringa) trees makes the air healthy. Also, jaggery made with fresh crop of sugarcane adds a renewed flavour to the typical dishes associated with Ugadi.

In Andhra Pradesh, Indian food such as “Pulihora”, “Bobbatlu” and preparations made with raw mango go well with the occasion. In Karnataka too, similar preparations are made but called “Puliogure” and “Holige”. The Maharashtrians make “Puran Poli” or sweet ‘Rotis’.

Obbattu is made specially for Ugadi (Picture: YouTube)

The first dish of the New Year “Ugadi Pachchadi” is one such dish that has become synonymous with Ugadi. It is distributed on the day is a unique dish with a mixture of six tastes ranging from sweet to bitter. It comprises of jaggery, raw mango, tamarind, neem flowers, salt and green chilli. This is the first dish that people have on Ugadi day. The dish ‘Ugadi Pachadi’ has an important symbolic meaning that life brings different experiences ranging from sweet to bitter. Therefore each individual should learn to take the different experiences in one’s stride and move ahead.

Other rituals

  • Ugadi Chandra Darshana is one ritual that is performed at night where it is considered highly auspicious to look at the moon.
  • Another major event on the day is “Panchanga Sravanam” which is your horoscope predictions for the new Telugu year.

Significance of Ugadi
It is believed that the creator of the Hindu pantheon Lord Brahma started creation on Ugadi day. The onset of spring also marks a beginning of new life with plants acquiring new life, shoots and leaves. The vibrancy of life and verdant fields, meadows full of colourful blossoms signify growth, prosperity and well-being.

All experiences have to be treated with equanimity. Every one should make a resolve that he will face calmly whatever happens in this year, accepting it with good grace and welcoming everything. Consider everything as for one’s own good. Men should rise above sorrow and happiness, success and failure. This is the primary message of the Ugadi festival.

Marathi Hindus celebrate Ugadi, or Gudhi Padva, with street processions, colourful floor decorations, dancing and flag-waving. Some Hindus celebrate new year at a completely different time to Ugadi. For those in and near Gujarat, the new year festivities coincide with the five day Diwali festival, and others see the new year as falling between Vaisakhi between April 13 to 15, according to the solar cycle part of the Hindu lunisolar calendar.

The latter date is by far the most popular not only among Hindus of the Indian subcontinent but also among Buddhists and Hindus in many parts of southeast Asia.

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About Naufal Khan

Naufal Khan was the Publisher at ADISHAKTI MEDIA and the editor-in-chief of the South African Indian news service Indian Spice. Khan was former Sunday Times journalist and also an occult fiction and non-fiction writer with several published titles.