Ugadi, or Yugadi is celebrated by the for the people of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh respectively. It Is a day of new beginning or the first day of the Hindu Lunar Calendar. Ugadi is celebrated with various names across different states. The celebrations across these states are diverse and is accompanied with various festive activities and food preparations. The festival typically falls during the month of March or April.
The festival of Ugadi is also known by Gudi Padwa for Maharashtrians, Cheti Chand for the Sindhi community and Baisakhi for the Punjabis. Legend has it that Lord Brahma created the world on the day of Ugadi in which the current generation lives. However, Ugadi overlaps with the onset of spring and the harvest season. This is the first festival after the long monsoon season and cold winter days. This day also marks the change of the lunar orbit and the start of the lunar calendar. In the Hindu calendar the day is also known as Chaitra Sudha Padhyami.
The celebrations in Karnataka include decorating homes and space of worship with flowers and raw mango leaves. Since the beginning of any auspicious occasion starts with a visit to the temple, people wake up early to visit the place of worship to seek the blessings of the almighty adorned in new clothes. Women often opt for Silk sarees, being the most famous handloom type in Karnataka, from Mysore silks, Kanchipuram and arani sarees. With regard to food they eat a mixture called Bevu Bella which is made with neem leaves and jaggery. This symbolizes the anticipation for a year filled with emotions of sweet and bitter. Obattu, is another traditional sweet that is prepared on this day. Whereas, meals consist of Chitranna, Puliogare, Obattu Saru, Kosambri and Payasam. However, before consuming the meals, an offering is made to the Gods.
In Andhra Pradesh too Ugadi is celebrated by decorating the doorways with flowers and twigs of mango leaves alongwith Rangoli outside the main door. Here Bevu Bella is replaced with Ugadi Pachhadi and it consists of a mixture of neem leaves, jaggery, green chili, pepper, salt and raw mango or tamarind. It is consumed in a small quantity and denotes emotions like fear, happiness, sadness, surprising events of life etc. Apart from these, traditional staple food including rice and pappu is prepared alongwith sweets. A visit to the temple is a must to seek blessings of the divine for a wonderful year ahead. Everyone decks up in their best finery and the rest of the day is spent meeting and greeting family, near and dear ones.
Though Ugadi, may be celebrated with different names, the focus is on the well-being and marking the new beginning of a new era. This year the festivities may not be celebrated with gusto, the spirit of Ugadi will remain intact and continue to spread the warmth of the festival among everyone.