The festival gets its name from the word Yugadi, a Sanskrit word in which ’Yuga' refers to 'epoch' or 'era', and 'adi' means 'the beginning'. The festival symbolizes the start of the age and time, in which we are living in now.
People of the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana in India; celebrate the festival of Ugadi as their New Year's Day. This festival is celebrated in these regions, usually on the first day of the Hindu Lunar calendar, in the month of Chaitra.
Following the Gregorian calendar, this festival falls in the months of March and April. Ugadi 2019 will be observed on 6th April.
Since this time also marks the beginning of the spring season, the colorful blossoms of Jasmine flower (symbolizing growth) which bloom during this time are offered to the deity while performing prayers.
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Customs and Rituals of the festival-
All festivals have particular customs and rituals attached to them. People celebrate the festival by drawing colorful patterns on the floor called kolamulus or rangolis.
The festival of Ugadi has immense significance in our country, as it symbolizes the essence of life. As part of the festivities, people prepare a special delicacy; a mixture of six tastes. The festival derives its name, Ugadi Pachhadi in Telugu and Bevu Bella in Kannada from this special food itself. This particular mixture symbolizes the different experiences (sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise), which we encounter in our lives. The festival encourages us to accept and even make the most of these experiences with equanimity in the New Year.
The special ingredients used in making the dishes include Jaggery (which represents sweetness) which symbolizes happiness, Salt symbolizes having interest and passion for something in life, Tamarind (which represents sourness) symbolizes challenges and obstacles that we encounter in life, Neem flowers (which represents bitterness) symbolizes the difficulties of life, Raw mango (which represents tangy flavour) symbolizes surprises and new opportunities, and finally, Chilli powder (which represents spicy foods) symbolizes hurt and anger we feel in life.
In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, people prepare special food items like Bobbattu, Polelu, Puran Poli, Oliga, etc. are prepared as part of the celebrations. Another traditional dish, called Bhakshalu Boorelu is also prepared, which is made from fresh ghee. In Karnataka, a filling of gram and jaggery, stuffed in flat roti-like bread, is also eaten with ghee or milk (or coconut milk).
As part of rituals, some families also hang mango leaves and place a Kalash near the door, on the day of Ugadi. Some other rituals include people, buying new clothes, giving charity to the poor, taking a special bath early in the morning, followed by oil treatment.
For those who follow the Hindu Lunar calendar, the festival of Ugadi coincides with the start of a new astronomical cycle. On this day, the axis of the Earth is tilted in such a way that the northern hemisphere receives the maximum energy from the Sun for a period of 21 days.
Ugadi is celebrated the day after ‘Amavasya’ (which means no moon) and thus, signifies the beginning of a new moon.
The festival also marks the day when the Earth completes one full revolution around the sun.
May this Ugadi bring you joy, health, wealth and good luck throughout the year! Team Astroyogi wishes you all a very Happy Ugadi!