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One of the most important festivals in the southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the Ugadi festival marks the beginning of the New Year in these states. It is an undeniable fact that along with the changing times a lot of things in our lives have been up for a change.
In this process we, as members of a particular caste or community, have in many ways lost out the true essence of celebrating certain festivals. Luckily for us, the celebration of Ugadi is something that has stood every test of time and even today, this particular festival is celebrated with the same fervor as it was done generations ago.
Celebrated on the first day of the month of Chaitra, according to the Hindu Saki calendar, this festival is celebrated in the state of Maharashtra as 'Gudi Padwa’. Both Gudi Padwa and Ugadi are actually the same festival.
The form of celebrations differs greatly in the four states, in which it is celebrated. While it is a well-accepted fact that all the festivity begins early in the morning and goes on well into the night, the set of rituals that are celebrated here differ greatly from state to state and community to community.
So, read on to know more on why this festival is celebrated in its current form.
Making A Fresh Start
Since Ugadi is all about the New Year, it also implies making a fresh start. Thus, the preparations for the same begin a couple of weeks before the actual festival. People clean up their homes and workspaces.
Curtains and drapes are also cleaned and all the unnecessary items that are present in the house are also discarded. This removes all the negativity from the life of an individual and that of a family. Another important facade of this act is the fact that the entire family comes together during the cleaning drive and this in turn promotes close bonding among the members of the family.
The festival of Ugadi is celebrated in the month of March or April. It is a well-accepted fact that it is during times like this that one needs to take special care of their skin and hair.
That is why, the rituals of this festival dictate that one must take bath early in the morning. According to certain cultures, this bath has to be taken in lukewarm water. Usually, new and traditional clothes are worn on this day after the ritualistic bath.
Following this, one has to oil their skin and hair. The scientific logic behind these rituals are incorporated to ensure that one takes due care of his or her skin and hair.
The celebration of any Indian festival is deemed incomplete without the customary condiments that surround the same. Since this festival is celebrated on the onset of summer, a number of sour food items like raw mango and tamarind are essential ingredients in the delicacies that are associated with this festival.
The most popular dish that is consumed during Ugadi is Ugadi Pachadi, which is made out of neem, raw mango, jaggery and tamarind.
This dish is eaten both as a snack as well as a main course item on this auspicious day. The varied items that go into the preparation of this item remind us that the different emotions of anger, bitterness, surprise and fear are essential to make life meaningful.
Listening To The Panchagram
Panchagram is nothing but an almanac of the New Year and includes predictions of the upcoming moon year. It is usually read out by the priest or the eldest member or head of the family. By listening to this, it is ensured that the fresh start to the New Year takes place on an optimistic note.
Another important aspect of this is the fact that this type of a gathering brings out the spirit of brotherhood among the members of a community and fosters understanding among the people.
This is also particularly important because it is here that one gets to pass on the traditions and folklore to the next generation. Usually, this gathering happens in the late evening on the day of Ugadi.