Ugadi is a festival celebrated all across the Deccan regions of India with much fun and fervor. The word Ugadi has originated from the Sanskrit words - ‘yug’ means era and ‘Aadi’ means beginning. So, it marks the beginning of the new era. It is believed that on this day Lord Brahma- the God of creation in Hindu trinity, created the universe. This is also the time when winter has left and spring is around, therefore making it a perfect occasion to begin anew.
This is the time of the year when the entire nature appears to be drowned in the festive spirit and there lies the spiritual significance of Ugadi. Like the new leaves, new buds, fresh breeze and bright sunlight, the Ugadi festival also symbolizes the birth of a new era. It is celebrated on ShuklaPaksha (bright fortnight) of the first month Chaitra of the Hindu calendar and also the first season, Vasanta – Spring). As all these elements work together, the Ugadi festival's importance is very significant.
Marking the beginning of a new year in the Deccan part of India, Ugadi is celebrated majorly in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, etc. Locally it is also called Telugu Panchangam or Kannad Panchang and coincides with the Marathi festival of ‘GudiPadwa’, Rajasthani festival of ‘Thapna’ and the Sindhi festival of ‘Cheti Chand’.
The dates of Ugadi vary each year since they depend on the Hindu calendar which further changes frequently depending on the solar cycles. As per the Hindu calendar it falls on the first day of the Chaitra month (Chaitra masam) and is generally observed either in the month of March or April according to the common calendar.
There are many customs of the festival which are an integral part of Ugadi significance and symbolism. One such custom is making Ugadi Pachadi.
The significance of UgadiPachadi is immense as it symbolizes the essence of life. This special dish is prepared with ingredients like:
- Jaggery (sweet): symbolizing happiness
- Salt (salty): showing interest in life
- Tamarind (sour): symbolizing challenges
- Neem flowers (bitter): shows difficulties of life
- Raw mango (tangy): indicating surprises and new challenges
- Chilli powder (spicy): showing the angry moments in one’s life.
The dish is significant as it has all the tastes of life. It teaches that life is a mixture of all the emotions. Each and every ritual followed on this day, has its own significance. Hanging of mango leaves and placing a kalash near the door or the calling of the priest to make the yearly forecast are all part of Ugadi significance and symbolism.
Spiritual Significance of Ugadi:
According to the Hindu belief, Lord Brahma, the creator started creating the earth on this auspicious day. Yugaadi is one among the several names of Lord Sri Maha Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is addressed as Yugaadikrit, the one who is the creator of Yugas. So, this day is the most auspicious day to worship the Para Brahma, who is the creator of the Time element.
Ugadi Historical Significance:
According to the astrological calculations, it is considered that Lord Sri Krishna’s Nirvana was commenced in the early hours of bright fortnight of Chaitra that corresponds to 18.02.3102 BC and this day also marks the beginning of the Kaliyuga. So Ugadi is also believed to be the onset of Kaliyuga. Even the great Mathematician Bhaskar Acharya professed Ugadi historical significance as the commencement of the New Year and month.