Created by Parentune Support Updated on Apr 06, 2013
On 11th April, 2013, most of South and West India will celebrate “a new beginning”. The term Ugadi or Yugadi as it is called in many places comes from the Sanskrit Yuga and Adi which means literally ‘start of a new age’. This is the New Year’s Day for the Deccan region. It is the first day of the first month, Chaitra in the Panchanga calendar or the Indian lunar calendar, followed in the Deccan region of India.
Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu celebrates this day as Ugadi while Maharashtra calls the day GudiPadwa, Marwaris call it Thapna, Sindhis call it Cheti Chand, Manipuris celebrate it as Sajibunongmapanba, their new year. It is also celebrated among the Hindus of Mauritius, Bali and Indonesia.
The legend goes that Lord Rama killed Ravana on the last day of Phalgun, a new moon night or Amavasya. The next day was the dawn of a new era, or Ugadi. It is also said that Lord Brahma started creating the universe on this day. Whatever the story, like Holi heralds the beginning of spring in the country, Ugadi brings in vibrant and fertile summer in its full swing, a time when the aroma of raw mangoes and fragrant jasmines fill the air, the fruit and flower trees are in full bloom and prosperity can be predicted in households.
What is an Indian festival without its associated foods? Ugadi has its special tastes in UgadiPachadi, the mixture of six tastes that symbolize the season and its various moods. These tastes and moods are what balances life and has to be embraced every year to lead a full life. Scientifically it prevents seasonal diseases with super healthy ingredients.
These 6 tastes are:
•Bitterness from Neem signifying the mood of sadness.
•Sweetness from ripe banana or jaggery signifying the mood of happiness.
•Hot or spicy from chilli or pepper signifying the mood of anger.
•Saltiness from salt signifying the mood of fear.
•Sour from tamarind signifying the mood of dislike.
•The tang of green mango signifying the mood of surprise.
Every region also has its special dishes. Karnataka has Holige and Andhra Pradeah and Maharashtra has its PuranPoli which is delicious flat bread with coconut and jaggery filling.With this month being the season for raw mangoes, this is the time raw mango pickles are made. Raw mango preparations are also common.
Prepare your own UgadiPachadi
•Raw mango, chopped with skin- 1 cup
•Neem flowers: 1 spoon
•Jaggery grated- 1 cup
•Tamarind paste 2-3 spoons
•Red chilli powder- according to taste
•Salt- to taste
Mix everything well. The base should be saucy. If you want it lighter, add a little water. You can add bananas, coconut grate or roasted channadaal to make it even tastier.
PreparePuranPoli at home
•Channadaal- 1 cup
•Jaggery- 1 cup
•Cardamom- 1 tspn
•Maida- 1 cup
•Turmeric- 1 pinch
•Salt- 1 pinch
•Oil- 1 tspn
•Boil the channadaal, drain water and cook with jaggery for about 10 mins. Grind with a little water and mix with the cardamom to get a smooth texture.
•Mix the maida, turmeric, salt and add oil to make a dough. Cover with cling wrap and keep for 1 hour.
•Take a ball of the dough and make a hole in the center. Fill with a bit of the channa mixture and seal properly. Roll out like a roti and fry till it is golden brown.
•Serve hot with some ghee and jaggery.
Celebrations and children
The celebrations start a week before, with the house getting a spring clean. Traditionally in mud houses, floors and walls would get a good wash with cow dung water, which is supposed to be auspicious, but actually is a disinfectant. As with all festivals new clothes and gifts are bought. Children find this time special for the clothes and gifts they buy for themselves and their family.
On the day of the festival, adults and children alike, wake up early and take their ritualistic bath. New clothes are worn and the house is decorated with mango leaves and designs with white rice paste. This is supposed to welcome prosperity and good harvest. Children love to decorate and love to be useful in putting up the strings of leaves for decorations.
In Maharashtra people erect a bamboo stick and top it with silver or copper pot, often decorating it with flowers and colourful cloth. This is the gudi. It is worshipped as Brahma Dhwajam or IndraDhwajam, symbolizing victory and well being in the household and is supposed to invite all deities to the house.
People in Andhra Pradesh usually celebrate with arranging for Kavi Sammelans where poetry is recited. This continues till now and is a popular platform for budding poets to showcase their poetry on radio and television to reach their audience. Also traditionally recited is the almanac of the New Year, which is called PanchangaShravanam. The respected elderly will read out from the almanac and the townspeople would gather around to hear it. Usually mass feedings or feasts are held in various places.
Sharing myths and stories with children at this time and making them part of the celebrations will be a grounding factor in their lives, creating lovely memories and giving them a sense of their culture and background. They may even help with the preparations of food for the occasion.
Here’s wishing each and every one celebrating Ugadi a pleasant season and lots of prosperity and happiness in the coming year.