Saturday, March 28, 2009

UGADI (TELUGU NEW YEAR)


Ugadi (beginning; the start of an era) is the new year's day for the people of the Deccan region of India. While the people of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka use the term Ugadi for this festival, the people of Maharashtra term the same festival, observed on the same day, Gudi Padwa.

Sindhis, people from Sindh, celebrate the same day as their New Year day Cheti Chand. Ugadi is celebrated on a different day every year because the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar. The Saka calendar begins with the month of Chaitra (March/April) and Ugadi marks the first day of the new year.

The Lunar Almanac of the Deccan
Ugadi is actually Yugadi, means the aadi(beginning) of new(Kali)Yuga. It is the day when the KaliYuga started. KaliYuga started the moment when SriKrishna passed away. The sanskrit versus by Maharshi Vedavyasa says that 'Yesmin Krishno DivamVyataha, Tasmat eeva pratipannam Kaliyugam'. This generally falls in the months of March or April of the Gregorian calendar. In 2008, Yugadi falls on April 6th/7th depending on the region based on the thithi(because of adhika month). Ugadi (start of Telugu year) is based on Bhāskara II lunar calculations in 12th century. It starts on the first new moon after Sun crosses equator from south to north on Spring Equinox.

For example, the time for the new moon for Bijapur where Bhaskaracharya was born can be determined from the website However, people celebrate Ugadi on the next morning as hindu day starts from sun rise.

Observance in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka

The Telugu and Kannada people celebrate the festival with great fanfare; gatherings of the extended family and a sumptuous feast are de rigueur. The day, however, begins with ritual showers (oil bath) followed by prayers, and then the eating of a specific mixture of -

• Neem Buds/Flowers for bitterness

• Raw Mango for tang

• Tamarind Juice for sourness

• Green Chilli/Pepper for heat

• Jaggery for sweetness

• Pinch of Salt for saltiness

This mixture with all six tastes, called "Ugadi Pachhadi" in Telugu and "Bevu-Bellain” Kannada, symbolizes the fact that life is a mixture of different experiences (sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise) , which should be accepted together and with equanimity.

Later, people traditionally gather to listen to the recitation of the religious almanac (Panchangam) of the coming year, and to the general forecast of the year to come. This is the Panchanga Sravanam, an informal social function where an elderly and respected person refers to the new almanac pertaining to the coming year and makes a general benediction to all present. The advent of television has changed this routine, especially in the cities. Nowadays, people turn on the TV to watch broadcasts of the recitation.

Ugadi celebrations are marked by literary discussions, poetry recitations and recognition of authors of literary works through awards and cultural programs. Recitals of classical Carnatic music and dance are held in the evenings.

Observance in Maharashtra

The festival is called "Gudi Padwa" in Maharashtra; it heralds the advent of new year and is one of the most auspicious days for Maharashtrians.It is customary to erect ‘Gudis’ on the first day (Padwa) of the Marathi New Year. 'Gudi' is a bamboo staff with a colored silk cloth and a garlanded goblet atop it, which symbolizes victory or achievement. 

Hence, this day is known as “Gudipadwa” in Maharashtra. The New Year is ushered in with the worship of the "Gudi" and the distribution of a specific "Prasad" comprising tender neem leaves, gram-pulse and jaggery. The symbolism of tastes is the same as what is described above.
Also in many Maharashtrian homes they celebrate the occasion by making Shrikhand Puri.

Trivia

• Vasanta Navaratri (literally - The 9-night Spring festival) starts on this day and culminates nine days later on Sri Ramanavami which falls on Chaitra Sudhdha Navami.
• The years would have names in Sanskrit. The name of the one that starts on April 6th 2008 is Sarvadhaari.The one that ended is Sarvajit.

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