Ugadi: New Year of Telugu

The New year festival or Ugadi comes close on the heels of Holi. While the strong colours of Holi start fading away, the freshness of spring lingers on with sprightliness all around. The flame of the forest (trees with bright red flowers that blossom during holi) are in full bloom signifying an affluent season.

It is believed that the creator of the Hindus, Lord Brahma started creation of this world on this day Chaitra Suddha Padhyami or the Ugadi day. Therefore this day is commemorated by people reciting devotional songs and chanting scriptures in honour of this deity. In accordance with ancient tradition, astrologers make predictions for the coming year on this day. In ancient times, people used to floack to temples to listen to the narration (Panchangasravanam) of the new year calendar by the priests.

Ugadi marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar with a change in the moon's orbit. It is a day when mantras are chanted and predictions made for the new year. Traditionally, the panchangasravanam or listening to the yearly calendar was done at the temples or at the Town square but with the onset of modern technology. one can get to hear priest-scholar on telivision on telivision sets right in one's living room.

"Ugadi Pachchadi" is one such dish that has become synonymous with Ugadi. It is made of new jaggery, raw mango pieces, Neem flowers and new tamarind. The inner significance of this preparation is to indicate that life is a mixture of good and bad, joy and sorrow and all of them have to be treated alike. All experiences have to be treated with equanimity. Every one should make a resolve that he will face calmly whatever happens in this year, accepting it with good grace, welcoming everything, and consider everything as being for one's good. Men should rise above sorrow and happiness, success and failure. This is the primary message of the Ugadi festival.

The celebration of Ugadi is marked by religious zeal and social merriment. Special dishes are prepared for the occasion. Ugadi is celebrated with festive fervour in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. While it is called Ugadi in A.P. and Karnataka, in Maharashtra it is known as "Gudipadwa". In Andhra Pradesh, people make special dishes such as "pulihora", "bobbatlu" and preparations made with raw mango. In karnataka also, similar preparations are made but called as "Puliogure" and "holige". The Maharashtrians make "puran poli" or sweet rotis.