Ugadi celebrations across Andhra Pradesh mark the beginning of a new calendar year…
As the misty veils of winter recede across India, spring makes its vibrant appearance: buds blossom into flowers, mangoes begin to ripen on trees and the delicate fragrance of jasmine pervades the air. It is also the time when new crops are sown, the soil is tilled and the largely agrarian society of India looks skywards with folded hands and a prayer on their lips for prosperity and an abundant harvest in the coming year.
Ugadi meaning: This change of season is considered as the beginning of the year and is celebrated as Ugadi Festival. The story goes that Lord Brahma first started creation on Ugadi day. Literally translated Ugadi (yuga + adi) means the beginning of a new epoch. Ugadi is a day for families to get-together. Homes undergo spring cleaning and are decorated with strings of mango leaves. It is also the day for an oil bath at the crack of dawn, offering prayers to mark the beginning of the New Year and listening to the recitation of the Almanac (panchang) by a family elder or the priest.
Like every other Indian festival, Ugadi Festival is marked by laden tables and feasting. In most homes puranpoli (rotis stuffed with a paste of jaggery and gram flour) is made and devoured.
Other Ugadi favourites include pulihora (tamarind rice) and bobbatlu, slivers of raw mangoes are eaten with a dash of salt and chilly by the young, and the elders tuck the rest away to pickle them later, so that they last a whole year.
The one dish of significance made and eaten in every Telugu household is the Ugadi Pachadi. This bitter-sweet chutney is made from Neem buds, jaggery, raw mango, tamarind juice and seasoned with chilly, pepper and salt. Symbolically it signifies the six different tastes of life: ranging from bitterness, sweetness and sadness to surprise, anger, fear and disgust.
Ugadi celebrates the different facets of life and new beginnings…
Ugadi is known by different names in across various states of India – Gudipadwa in Maharashtra, Bihu in Assam, Kolla Versham in Kerala, and as Baisakhi in Punjab.
Ugadi 2013 date: This year Ugadi (Gudi Padwa) is on 11th April 2013, Thursday.