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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

WISHING YOU A 'HAPPY UGADI, A TELUGU NEW YEAR 2013'

Ugadi or Yugadi, the festival reserved to celebrate the commencement of New Year, is a day especially celebrated with huge fun and fervor in Deccan regions of India. It is assumed that Lord Brahma, the creator of the world began His creation on this day. The first day of bright half of the lunar month Chaitra is considered to be the day for Ugadi celebration, which generally falls in the months of March - April of the English calendar. The festival of Ugadi also welcomes the spring season when nature seem to be immersed in the festive mood and new leaves and new buds along with fresh breeze of spring manifold the Ugadi spirit. Scroll down the article to learn how the festivity is honored and rejoiced in several parts of India. 

Andhra Pradesh
The day is dedicated to Lord Brahma, the great creator of the world who began creation on this very day. It is also a belief among Hindus that Lord Vishnu incarnated in Matsya avatar on this day. As one of the major festivals of Andhra Pradesh, it gathers huge attention of public as well as the media. Celebration includes cleaning of house and surrounding, decorating entrances with green mango leaves, buying new clothes for family and various other rituals. They wake up early morning and use Sesame oil to massage their head and body, post which they take head wash and visit temples to offer their prayers. People make delicious dishes on this day which they share with their loved ones. Some places like Telangana celebrate the festival for three days. 

Karnataka

The day marks the beginning of the New Year and is considered to bring new hopes and happiness in life. At this auspicious occasion of commencement of spring, people make garlands of sweet scented Jasmine and offer them to God. They visit temples and offer prayers with sincerity while priests chant various mantras, developing spiritual aroma in surroundings. People whitewash their homes and decorate them with fresh mango leaves and flowers and they also practice the ritual of placing Kalasha beside their doors with coconut leave on it. For peace and harmony of their homes, they sprinkle cow dung water in front of their homes and make attractive Rangolis. Delicious dishes including Ugadi Pachchadi, Puliogure and Holidge are prepared for this occasion. At many places Bhakti songs and Kavi Sammelan are also held to give a platform to new blood so that they can reflect their literature and culture. 

Maharashtra
Ugadi is famous as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, where it is believed that new ventures started on this day or purchases made give fruitful results. In Maharashtra, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is remembered on this day, so the day is seen as one depicting valiant Marathas who return home after a glorious victory in war. They raise swastika marked metal pot tied with a silk cloth which exhibits their victory and joy after successful expeditions in war.
On this day, after washing and cleaning their home, people decorate it with fresh green mango leaves and rangolis. They visit temples to offer prayers and distribute bitter Neem leaves as Prasad.

Sindhis
The day is known as 'Cheti Chand' among Sindhi people and it is seen as the birthday of Water God, (Varun devta) Sai Uderolal or Jhulelal. He is considered to appear on material earth to protect Sindhis from dictatorship of a ruler and saved Sindhi culture and Hinduism. The day is celebrated by worshipping water gods - Lord Jhulelal and Behrano Sahib; Chej, the folk dance of Sindhis is also performed on this day. 

Manipur
Manipur knows Ugadi by 'Sajibu Cheiraoba', where 'Sajibu' refers to first of all the six seasons that make a year and 'Cheiraoba' means end of a year leading to beginning of another. Hence, the spirit and motive behind the celebration is same in Manipur as in other states, only the way of celebration and the name of festival differ.

On the day of Sajibu Cheiraoba, Manipuri people start rituals very early in the morning. Women of the house prepare Athelpot with the help of fine whole rice, raw vegetables, flowers and fruits of new season which is meant for offering to Lainingthou Sanamahi and Leimarel Ima Sidabi placed on southwest and middle north corner of the house respectively. Post prayers, food is cooked and offered to God spirits Hanu-Kokchao and Hanu Leikham with a prayer to protect the well-being of their house. At the fire place, Emoinu Ima is offered food in round-cut plantain leaves to defend the family from sorrows in the coming year. After rituals and prayers, whole family dines together, while married people visit their parents; this way the festival serves in strengthening the bonds in family.

All About Ugadi Festival
The New year festival or Ugadi comes close on the heels of Holi. While the strong colors of Holi start fading away, the freshness of spring lingers on with sprightliness all around. The flame of the forest (trees with bright red flowers that blossom during holi) are in full bloom signifying an affluent season.It is believed that the creator of the Hindu pantheon Lord Brahma started creation on this day - Chaitra suddha padhyami or the Ugadi day. Also the great Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya's calculations proclaimed the Ugadi day from the sunrise on as the beginning of the new year, new month and new day. The onset of spring also marks a beginning of new life with plants (barren until now) acquiring new life, shoots and leaves. Spring is considered the first season of the year hence also heralding a new year and a new beginning. The vibrancy of life and verdent fields, meadows full of colorful blossoms signifies growth, prosperity and well-being.

With the coming of Ugadi, the naturally perfumed jasmines (mallepulu) spread a sweet fragrance which is perhaps unmatched by any other in nature's own creation! While large garlands of jasmine are offered to Gods in homes and temples, jasmine flowers woven in clusters adorn the braids of women.

Predictions of the Year
Ugadi marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar with a change in the moon's orbit. It is a day when mantras are chanted and predictions made for the new year. Traditionally, the panchangasravanam or listening to the yearly calendar was done at the temples or at the Town square but with the onset of modern technology, one can get to hear the priest-scholar on television sets right in one's living room.

It is a season for raw mangoes spreading its aroma in the air and the fully blossomed neem tree that makes the air healthy. Also, jaggery made with fresh crop of sugarcane adds a renewed flavor to the typical dishes associated with Ugadi. "Ugadi pachchadi" is one such dish that has become synonymous with Ugadi. It is made of new jaggery, raw mango pieces and neem flowers and new tanarind which truly reflect life - a combination of sweet, sour and bitter tastes!

Preparing for the Occasion
Preparations for the festival begin 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.

Ugadi is celebrated with festive fervor in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. While it is called Ugadi in A.P. and Karnataka, in Maharashtra it is known as "Gudipadava". 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 Kartik (or Subramanya or Kumara Swamy) and Ganesha, the two sons of Lord Siva and Parvathi were very fond of mangoes. As the legend goes Kartik 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 Kalasam, 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 and prosperity and success in business too. Ugadi is also the most auspicious time to start new ventures.

The celebration of Ugadi is marked by religious zeal and social merriment. Special dishes are prepared for the occasion. In Andhra Pradesh, eatables such as "pulihora", "bobbatlu" and preparations made with raw mango go well with the occasion. In Karnataka too, similar preparations are made but called "puliogure" and "holige". The Maharashtrians make "puran poli" or sweet rotis.

Season For Pickles
With the raw mango available in abundance only during the two months (of April/May), people in Andhra Pradesh make good use of mangoes to last them until the next season. They pickle the mangoes with salt, powdered mustard and powdered dry red chilli and a lot of oil to float over the mangoes. This preparation is called "avakai" and lasts for a whole year.

Mangoes and summer season go hand in hand. Ugadi thus marks the beginning of the hot season which coincides with the school vacations. For the young ones, therefore, Ugadi is characterised by new clothes, sumptuous food and revelling. The air is filled with joy, enthusiasm and gaiety. Some people participate in social community gatherings and enjoy a tranquil evening with devotional songs (bhajans).

Kavi Sammelanam
Kavi Sammelanam (poetry recitation) is a typical Telugu Ugadi feature. Ugadi is also a time when people look forward to a literary feast in the form of Kavi Sammelanam. Many poets come up with new poems written on subjects ranging - from Ugadi - to politics to modern trends and lifestyles.

Ugadi Kavi Sammelanam is also a launch pad for new and budding poets. It is generally carried live on All India Radio's Hyderabad "A" station and the Doordarshan,(TV) Hyderabad following "panchanga sravanam" (New year calendar) narrating the way the new year would shape up in the lives of people and the State in general. Kavis (poets) of many hues - political, comic, satirical reformist, literary and melancholic - make an appearance on the Ugadi stage. Ugadi is thus a festival of many shades. It ushers in the new year, brings a rich bounce of flora and fills the hearts of people with joy and contentment.

Special Delicacies
It is a season for raw mangoes spreading its aroma in the air and the fully blossomed Neem tree that makes the air healthy. Also, jaggery made with fresh crop of sugarcane adds a renewed flavour to the typical dishes associated with Ugadi.

"Ugadi Pachchadi" is one such dish that has become synonymous with Ugadi. It is made of new jaggery, raw mango pieces, Neem flowers and new tamarind. The inner significance of this preparation is to indicate that life is a mixture of good and bad, joy and sorrow and all of them have to be treated alike.

All experiences have to be treated with equanimity. Every one should make a resolve that he will face calmly whatever happens in this year, accepting it with good grace and welcoming everything. Consider everything as for one's own good. Men should rise above sorrow and happiness, success and failure. This is the primary message of the Ugadi festival.

In Andhra Pradesh, eatables such as "Pulihora", "Bobbatlu" and preparations made with raw mango go well with the occasion. In Karnataka too, similar preparations are made but called "Puliogure" and "Holige". The Maharashtrians make "Puran Poli" or sweet 'Rotis'.
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