A new day brings new hope, new beginnings, and new aspirations. Ugadi originates from the Sanskrit word “Yugadi.” Yug means “Period” or “an era,” and “Adi” means “The beginning.” Therefore, Ugadi means the “beginning of a new period or era.” The festival falls on the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, also known as “Chaitra Shudha Pratipada,” and generally corresponds with the English month of March or April. It is widely observed as the Telugu New Year and is celebrated along the Deccan region of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. It is an auspicious day to begin a new venture, constructions of a new home or workplace, sign important deals, purchase gold and silver, take delivery of a new vehicle, and more.
Significance of Ugadi
It is believed that Lord Bramha began the creation of the cosmos on this auspicious day. This makes Ugadi the first day of the existence of time and universe. Parabramha, or the creator of the universe, is worshipped on this day. Lord Vishnu created the yugas and is honoured as Yugaadikrit. Chaitra Navaratri, or the Vasanta Navaratri, also begins on this day. The celebration of nine days concludes with Shri Ram Navami, when Lord Rama, the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, was born.
Astronomically, a new cycle begins on Ugadi. The northern hemisphere gets 21 days of sunlight because of the Earth’s tilt starting Ugadi. It is the recharging time for Mother Earth to regenerate with the sun’s energy. As a result, mother Nature is a blooming beauty with the onset of spring. Fresh leaves and shoots start emerging, and she will eventually be covered in a blanket of greenery.
In a way, Ugadi is all about leaving behind the time which has passed and welcoming a new era, new beginnings, and a fresh start with optimistic hopes and expectations.
Preparations and Celebrations
The preparations for the Ugadi festival start days in advance. First, it’s time to do spring cleaning and eliminate unwanted things. In the olden days, a fresh coat of cow dung was applied to the home; now, a fresh coat of paint was used, new clothes were purchased, special food was prepared, and gold and silver jewellery or other valuable purchases were made.
On the day of the Ugadi festival, people wake up before sunrise. Then, a ceremonial oil bath is customary. First, women apply a paste of turmeric on their feet. Next, Kumkum is applied to the forehead of everyone by the elders of the home. Then, the pooja room is cleaned, and the idols of Gods and Goddesses are given the “abhyanga snanam, “ or the ritual oil bath. It is followed by rituals like “abhishekam,” “alankaram,” “naivedyam,” and “mangal aarti.”
Havans and elaborate poojas are performed in temples and homes. The entrances of temples, shops, and homes are adorned with garlands of flowers and fresh mango leaves. Colourful rangoli designs adorn the doorways and corridors. Families offer prayers to the rising sun and other deities and later visit the temple to seek blessings and make offerings to the almighty. Charity or “daanam“ is an important part of the festival. “Bevu-Bella,” “Ugadi Pacchidi,” or the mixture of neem flowers, jaggery, tamarind, chilli powder, raw mango, and salt, are consumed to mark the acceptance of “Shadruchulu,” or the six distinct flavours; Schools in life. Each ingredient has a special significance representing different experiences in life. Pulihora-garelu, Bobbatlu, payasam, and other special dishes are prepared for naivedyam and consumption. “Panchanga Shravanam” is read by the priest or elders of the family to forecast the events of the coming year for each member based on their birth charts. Sweets and savories are exchanged with friends, relatives, and neighbours.
Festivities across India
Ugadi is mainly celebrated along the Deccan plateau. The southern states are along the banks of river Cauveri and the Vidhya ranges. However, the celebration is extended to other parts of the country with different names.
Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka usher in the New Year with Udagi or Yugadi. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm. It holds great significance and relevance in life, where yearly expectations of well-being, happiness, prosperity, and growth are welcomed. The tradition of rangoli, charity, regular baths, food, and festivities remains more or less the same across the three states. One can book APSRTC or TSRTC buses to reach Ugadi venues during the festival.
Maharashtra, Mangalore, and Goa celebrate the Hindu new year on the same day as Ugadi and calls it “Gudi Padwa” or “Sanvsar Padwa.” A “Gudi” is erected, decorated, and worshiped. The festivities continue with family, food, and fun.
Manipur celebrates the new year on the same day as Ugadi. “Sajibu Nongma Panba” or “Meetei Cheraoba” is celebrated with huge fanfare. An elaborate feast is prepared, offered to the deities, and distributed among the community. Hillock climbing and other traditional rituals are also observed.
Sindhis celebrate the day as “Cheti Chand,” Rajasthanis as “Thapna,” and Kashmiri Pandits as “Navreh,” while Hindus of Bali and Indonesia commemorate the day as Nyepi.
The festival of Ugadi holds special significance in the lives of people. Its importance is deep-rooted in ancient beliefs and age-old practices.
Ugadi 2023 falls on the 22nd of March; Schools will observe a holiday in certain states. The elaborate festivities are worth experiencing.
redBus offers travel services to major destinations across the country. Enjoy Ugadi festivities with your loved ones by booking tickets and travelling comfortably. redBus wishes you and your loved ones a pleased and prosperous Ugadi 2023. Make your Ugadi a memorable celebration by booking your bus tickets through redBus.