India - Ugadi Festival

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

Ugadi Festival

Ugadi is well known as the 'New Year festival'. It is celebrated in the month of April -May. Amongst the various festivals of India, Ugadi is celebrated with festive eagerness especially in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

It is believed that the creator of the universe, Lord Brahma started creation on this day. The great Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya's calculations also announced the Ugadi day as the beginning of the New Year.

Spring is considered the first season of the year. With the coming of Ugadi, the naturally perfumed jasmines spread a sweet delicate scent, which is perhaps matchless by any other flower in nature’s creation. Large garlands of jasmine are offered to Gods at homes and temples.

On this day mantras are chanted and predictions are made for the New Year. The raw mangoes spread its fragrance in the air and the fully blossom neem tree purifies the air. Jaggery made with fresh crop of sugarcane adds a renewed flavor to the typical dishes associated with Ugadi.

The festival begins a week ahead. Houses are given a thorough wash. Shopping for new clothes and buying other items that go with the requirements of the festival are done with a lot of excitement. On this day, people wake up before the break of dawn and take a bath. Then they decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves. 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 the New Year. They pray for their health, wealth and prosperity and success in business. In the evening many competitions are held like bullock-cart races, physical fight, lifting of heavy weights, running races, card games etc.

Special dishes are prepared for the occasion. Ugadi is also a time when many poets come up with new poems written on subjects ranging from politics to modern trends and lifestyles.


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