A Festival to celebrate the “beginning of new age”.
Ugadi or Yugadi is one of the most important Hindu festivals which have derived its name from two Sanskrit words: Yug and Adi, meaning Age and New Beginning respectively, which on putting together means “The Beginning of New Age”. The day on which it is celebrated is the start of the New Year as per the Hindu lunisolar calendar. It is believed that it was on this day that Lord Brahma gave shape to the entire universe, including earth and the life which sustains within. That’s why Ugadi is the official New Year for people of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. However, its celebrations are not just limited to these two states but extend to other states as well: Maharashtra, Punjab, Bengal, Assam, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and the Sindh province of Pakistan, though it goes by different names. Ugadi falls on different dates each year, but always in either the month of March or April.
Before the actual day of Ugadi, a few days or a week before, people painstakingly start cleaning their homes and start shopping for new clothes and other items that go with the celebrations. Then on the day, devotees wake up before the sun rises and take ritualistic oil baths and decorate their homes with rangolis and mango leaves. It is believed that doing so brings in good tidings and general well-being in the New Year. Family gatherings and indulging in wholesome dishes, including the traditional Ugadi Pachhadi, leaves the devotees filled and contented with whatever unrequited has passed by and whatever glad tidings may befriend them in future. Chanting of mantras, predictions for the New Year, Kavi Sammelans (poetic recitations), Carnatic music and classical dances in the evening constitutes rest of the day. The day is also considered to be an auspicious and blessed one to start afresh with positivity, leaving behind all that is gone, for the rest of the year ahead.
There is so much more about Ugadi. Hope this article has generated enough interest in the reader to google and find out more about this fascinating festival..