Ugadi visits this year on March 21st. Ugadi, meaning the beginning of a new age, happens to be the New Year Day for the people of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It also brings in a new beginning for some other states in India and a few overseas.
This first day of the Hindu month Chaitra brings it as Ugadi for Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Gudi Padwa for Maharashtra, Goa, Sajibu Nongma Panba for Manipur and Cheti Chand for the Sindhi community. The Punjabis observe it as Baisakhi or the Spring Festival.
Hindus overseas in Mauritius, Indonesia and a few others also observe this day as the commencement of a new year.
Facts related to Ugadi
- Lord Brahma the creator of the Universe is supposed to have created the Universe on this day also known as Chaitra Shudha Padhyami. He created the fractions of time also to make it easier to keep count it is said i.e. days, months, years etc.
- Besides celebrating the beginning of the Universe, it is also the time when the Spring freshness re-enters our life after a long monsoon and winter session. The nine day long Vasant Navaratri begins on this day and culminates with Ram Navami.
- It marks the change in the lunar orbit and the start of the new lunar calendar for the year, a basis for all horoscopes based on it.
- The Panchanga Shravanam is an auspicious event on this day. Generally a public discourse given by the senior priests at prominent temples, it involves the reading from the almanac on propitious events for the year in terms of wealth and prosperity that a person can hope to encounter if opportunity comes his way. The strengths and effects of stars and constellations are narrated. It is believed that the scriptures have termed it as good as a pure and holy dip in the Ganges for both narrator and the listeners. Generally some people out of gratitude present new clothes, money and other gifts to the priests after the narration.
Celebrating the Ugadi festival
- During Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka you may find these observances.
- An oil bath is taken at sunrise and after prayers at home temples are visited in new clothes got for the occasion and offerings to the family deities made.
- Some visits are made during the day and the rest in the evening to family and friends’ places. Some visits could be reciprocated in turn.
- In Andhra Pradesh, the Ugadi Pachhadi which is a specific mix of several tastes is partaken and offered. The mixture has Neem leaves, jaggery, green chilli or pepper, salt, tamarind juice and raw mango.
- In Karnataka it is Bevu Bella. A mix of neem leaves and jaggery with some additions to make it a sweet and bitter tasting offering, is given and taken in small quantity symbolizing the bitter and sweet that we encounter in life and yet life continues as usual.
- Holige in Kannada , is also partaken. In Marathi it is known as Puran Poli.
The time to wear Grand ‘Pattu Silk’ and ‘Paithani’ sarees
Silk a favourite with Indian women across the country, this occasion of Ugadi / Gudi Padwa finds women dressed in resplendently fine pure silk handloom Pattu sarees. Narayanpet, Uppada, Gadwal, Pochampally, Mysore Silks, Dharmavaram, Kancheepuram, Arani, Rasipuram, Paithani fine silk pattu saris jostle each other to catch the attention of buyers, when the occasion supersedes price and caution in the purchase of these coveted silk sarees. There is a much longer list of pure silk handloom sarees that also vie for attention when such exclusive events occur, when women can indulge in similar purchases to fulfil their desires.
Women shop a week or two in advance to get their ‘prize buys’ before others in their respective circles can show off novelties. Costly but of quality, traditionally accepted since ancient times as pure and godly material, silk sarees are the lifeline of most Indian woman who know their worth in society. Weddings, grand parties, religious functions, festivals, social gatherings and all those exclusive occasions when the eyes follow and the talk centres around which pattu is hot property, who is looking good in what, and which is ‘worth killing for’.
Ugadi is just one more occasion when saree lovers would like to flaunt their silks. It also opens doors for future selections that their roving eyes would have silently picked to add to their ever increasing pure handloom Pattu silks collection.