Ugadi/Gudi padawa

December 3, 2007 RENU

Acc to Lunar calendar, it is on this day that a new year begins. It was originally “Yuga aadi”. It falls in march/april. It is celebrated on Chaitra sukla Padyami as a mark of the beginning of the New Year in Southern part of India. However not all Indians celebrate this festival as a new year. Different people in different places celebrate New Year at different months. In some places, the New Year is celebrated in Vaisakha month, while in others, it is celebrated in Margasira month while others celebrate it in the Phalguna month.

The festival marks the New Year day for people who follow the South Indian Lunar Calendar when the moons orbit change is observed. Hence, the festival is of utmost important for the people of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharastra (as Gudi Padava).

Once a demon named Somakasura stole the vedas & Lord vishnu restored them by killing him. On this day Lord Brahma began creating the world. This day also marks the arrival of Spring. In Maharashtra it is Gudi padva, Assam-Bihu, Kerala-kolla varsham, punjab-baisakhi, but they follow Solar calendar.

People wake up early, wash their hair(belief that Lakshmi resides in oil & Ganga in h20), don new clothes, eat ugadi pachadi of neem flowers to give you a taste of sweet, sour & bitter incidents that the year ahead might contain, listen to panchangam(based on astrological calculations) to know what the new year has in store for them. Spring is one of favorite months of poets. 

It is believed that the creator of the Hindu pantheon Lord Brahma started creation on this day. Spring is considered the first season of the year and hence is a symbol of heralding a new year and a new beginning. The vibrancy of life and verdant fields, meadows full of colorful blossoms signifies growth, prosperity and well-being.

On Ugadi day, people wake up before the break of dawn and take a head bath after which they decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves. The significance of tying mango leaves relates to a legend. It is said that Kartika and Ganesh, the two sons of Lord Siva and Parvathi were very fond of mangoes. As the legend goes Kartika exhorted people to tie green mango leaves to the doorway signifying a good crop and general well-being. It is noteworthy that we use mango leaves and coconuts (as in a Kalasa, to initiate any pooja) only on auspicious occasions to propitiate gods. People also splash fresh cow dung water on the ground in front of their house and draw colorful floral designs. This is a common sight in every household.

People perform the ritualistic worship to God invoking his blessings before they start off with the New Year. They pray for their health, wealth, prosperity, and success in business too. Ugadi is also the most auspicious time to start new ventures.

The Telugu and Kannada people celebrate the festival with great fanfare, gatherings of the extended family and sumptuous feast de rigueur. The day, however begins with ritual showers followed by prayers and then the eating of Ugadi Pacchadi. The Ugadi Pacchadi is made of Neem buds or flowers, jaggery, raw mango and tamarind juice.

Later, people traditionally gather to listen to the recitation of the religious Panchagam 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 opens the new Panchagam pertaining to the coming year and makes a general benediction to all present. Ugadi celebrations are marked by literary discussions, poetry recitations and recognition of authors of literary works through awards and cultural programmes. Recitals of classical carnatic music and dance are held in the evenings.

Kavi Sammelanam is a typical feature of every Telugu Ugadi day. Many poets come up with new poems written on subjects spanning from the traditional Ugadi to politics; from modern trends of life to lifestyles. The Kavi Sammelanam is often taken as a launch pad for new and budding poets. Kavis (poets) of many hues – political, comic, satirical reformist, literary and melancholic – make an appearance on the Ugadi stage. The literary feast is often telecasted live on Television and followed by “Panchanga Sravanam” when eminent scholars give their annual predictions.

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Entry Filed under: Religious stories

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