Ugadi is one of the important festivals of Telugu people. It is a new year's day as per Hindu calendar observed by the people of India in some parts of the country. Andhra Pradesh is one of them. This year it is falling on 31st March to begin the year of “Jaya” and to end “Vijaya”.
Special activities of the Telugu speaking people on the day of Ugadi in addition to buying new clothes and making special food items that is common to all festivals are,
1. First and foremost is Ugadi Pachadi made of all fresh agricultural products that makes a mixture of all tastes- sweet, sour, bitter and others. Ugadi pachadi is taken first in the morning before eating anything else. The belief is that the mixture of all tastes brings preparedness to take all ups and downs in the life during the year. Usual ingredients of Ugadi Pachadi are neem buds with bitterness, Jaggery and bananas for sweetness, Green chilli and pepper for hotness, salt, Tamarind for sourness, unripe mango for tang.
2. Panchanga Shravanam is another activity observed by Telugus. Panchangam in fact shows the order of actual days (Thithi), months (Masam) with good times and bad times and occurance of solar and lunar eclipse during year along with the actual starting and end times of the eclipse. But in Panchanga Shravanam that is attended by all on Ugadi, the forecasts in general also will be announced. That is the general happening in the state/country with percentages of favorable and unfavorable conditions for the whole community in general.
3. Wish each other for a Happy Ugadi which was not so specific with an outward expression of happiness in the olden days like in modern days.
4. Newlywed daughter and son in law will be invited and given presents.
The years as per Hindu calendar are sixty in number with different names like seven is the number of week days with different names for each day of the week. The cycle of the years goes that way repeating once in every 60 years. It is said that the name “Ugadi” is derived from Yuga and ‘adi’ means beginning which makes it beginning of a Yuga. But it is not right as Yuga has a different meaning
The usage of Yuga is special for Hindus. As per the belief of Hindus there are four Yugas- Krutha, Thretha, Dwapara, Kali yugas in which we are in Kaliyuga at present. It is also believed that the yugas will not repeat the way week days, months and years do. It is also strongly believed that at the end of Kali Yuga Universe also ends. Like in all religions Hindu religion also includes all human beings in applying the religious theories.
The rituals that are not observed nowadays in urban style of life are, getting up in the small hours of the day, heating water for the entire family members to take bath, applying oil to entire body and applying paste made of sunnipindi- a mixture of variety of flours before taking bath, maangal harathi after bath and making children eat a piece sweet immediately after it. Decoration of the house is made with mango leaves and flowers and compound with rangavalli.
The idea of Ugadi is to celebrate after harvest with new agricultural products and natural food products. The festival also makes the people of all walks of life aware of the panchangam and marks end of a year to make new resolutions during the New Year. Ugadi is believed as an auspicious day to start a new venture or a business or to occupy a newly built house. A new thought, plan or an action is initiated on the first day of the year is supposed give good and expected results.
And the idea of a festival is to have an opportunity to meet with own family members and relatives and spend a day cheerfully in the busy life. New clothes, presentations, special food and spending with near and dear always make one happy and connected.
Andhrawishesh wishes a happy Ugadi to all of its readers.