Ugadi or Yugadi literally means ‘the beginning of a new age. With reference to the commencement of the Kali Yuga that started when Lord Krishna left the world, Ugadi is celebrated as the New Year in the Deccan region that lies between the Vindhyachal hills and the Kaveri river, consisting of the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, and Karnataka.
Ugadi is on 2nd April 2022
When is Ugadi celebrated?
It is celebrated on the first day of the Shukla paksha of the Indian month of Chaitra. According to the Gregorian calendar, Ugadi falls in the month of March-April.
Spiritual Significance of Ugadi
Ugadi starts after the sun changes its position from the southern to the northern hemisphere during the Spring Equinox. It marks the beginning of the spring and thus is symbolic of new life, new hopes, and aspirations. According to mythology, Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, started his work on this day. This festival also marks the homecoming of Lord Rama after his exile.
Rituals of Ugadi
- Ugadi is the annual festive time of merry-making, colors, and enjoyment for people of the Deccan region.
- People start preparing for Ugadi almost a week in advance. Houses are cleaned and painted and then decorated with rangolis and fresh flowers. Cow-dung water is used to purify the ambiance. Mango leaves are tied at the doorstep as a symbol of prosperity and good fortune.
- Starting with a holy bath at dawn, people worship God on this day with traditional rituals so as to seek blessings for success and happiness in the coming year.
- People buy new clothes and jewelry on this occasion.
- This season is the time for raw mangoes. Thus dishes made of raw mangoes like ‘pulihora and ‘bobbatlu’ are prepared during Ugadi.
- A traditional dish called ‘Ugadi pachchadi’ is prepared on this day with jaggery, green pepper, salt, neem flowers, tamarind, and raw mango pieces which are symbolic of all the flavors of ‘life’.
- Ugadi is also a time of cultural activities. Devotional songs, hymns, and poetry recitals (kavi sammelan) are organized as a part of this festival.
- People gather together to hear the Panchanga or the forecast of the New Year. This practice is known as ‘Panchanga Shravanam’.
- Ugadi is a time of family unions. People gather together to enjoy and feast on this day. Seeking blessings of the elders in the family is a must for a happy year ahead according to ancient traditions.
- A special mixture made of neem leaves and jaggery are distributed among everyone.
- Devotees in large numbers visit temples like the Tirupati Venkateshwara temple and Lord Shiva temple at Srisailam on this day to offer puja to the Almighty.