Ugadi: New Year, the traditional Telugu and Kannada style

A small bird sits on a tree and sings merrily to its heart content. We imitate the little bird but it responds in an assertive way to prove itself to be the better singer. Remember playing (singing) with the cuckoo on the branch of a raw mango tree filled with beautiful fresh blossoms? We all have played that game! This sweet little friend makes an appearance in the month of Chaitra and announces the advent of the Kannada/Telugu New Year.

The Kannada/Telugu new year is celebrated on Padyami (first day) of Shukla paksha (waxing phase of the moon) in the month of Chaitra. We call this day as Ugadi and Yugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka respectively, wherein, yuga refers to a year and adi refers to beginning. Thus, Ugadi/Yugadi marks the beginning of a new calendar year/samvatsara. There are 60 calendar years identified by unique names. Thus, the name of one calendar year repeats once in every 60 years.

Significance of the Ugadi festival:

• It is believed that Lord Brahma began the creation of the universe on this day.
• Ugadi is the first day (padyami) of the first month (chaitra) of the first season (spring) of the Kannada/Telugu calendar. Therefore, it is also known as Chaitra Suddha Padyami/ Chaitra Shukla Pratipada.
• We can ascertain the status of new year to this day based upon the calculations of Bhaskaracharya too.
• As it is the beginning for a new year, any pious activity performed on this day gives an inspiration to perform many more pious deeds and thereby helps in attracting positive results in one's endeavours throughout the year.
Panchanga Sravanam (almanac reading) is one of the important rituals of Ugadi, wherein, a learned astrologer predicts future for the upcoming year.
• Ugadi also marks the beginning of Chaitra Navratri, which is highly auspicious for the worship of goddess Durga.
• Special dishes prepared on Ugadi signify the importance of life as a combination of happiness and sorrow, of several emotions and feelings and suggest one to lead a balanced life.

Appropriate way to celebrate the Ugadi festival:

• Prepare for the approaching new year by clearing the clutter and cleaning your home and surroundings.
• Wake up early on the day of Ugadi. Apply oil to your hair and body and take a head-bath.
• Decorate the entrance to your home and office with mango leaves, neem leaves and fresh flowers.
• Worship the presiding deities at your home.
• Worship Lord Surya by offering tarpan with water, sandalwood paste and flowers. For more details on worshipping Lord Surya, please refer to our article here.
• Reciting Sri Vishnu Sahasranama, Sri Lalita Sahasranama, and Sri Lakshmi Ashtothram on Ugadi is considered to be very auspicious to receive special blessings for the rest of the year.
• Prepare Ugadi Pachadi which is a combination of 6 tastes (shat ruchulu) by mixing neem flowers (bitter: representing sorrow), jaggery/ripe banana (sweet: representing happiness), green chilli/pepper (pungent: representing anger), tamarind (sour: representing disgust), grated/minced raw mango (astringent: representing surprise), salt (representing fear) in a bowl full of water. This recipe helps us appreciate the fact that life is a sum total of various pleasant and unpleasant incidents and that we need to accept life the way it comes with gratitude.
Ayurveda considers each of the above mentioned 6 tastes to be vital for the nutritional requirement and good health of an individual. Ugadi Pachadi is considered to be very beneficial for health owing to the medicinal and healing properties of all its ingredients.
• You can also prepare raw mango rice by adding grated raw mango, salt, pinch of turmeric and seasoning (with curry leaves) to cooked rice.
• You may also prepare Puran Poli, which is a special dish for Ugadi.
• Offer Ugadi Pacchadi, raw mango rice and Puran Poli to your favourite deities and honour the same as prasad.
• If possible, visit a nearby temple and seek blessings.
• Begin the new year with positive thoughts, pious deeds and make a great start for the rest of the year.

Additional Details:

Hindu New Year is not only celebrated in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It is also celebrated in several other states of India. To know about the traditional Maharashtrian new year, click here.

This year, Ugadi/Yugadi falls on 31st March. OnlineTemple.com wishes you all a very happy new year! May this new year bring a lot of happiness, peace, prosperity, good health and success into your lives! Ugadi Subhakankshalu! Ugadi Habbada Shubhashayagalu!

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