Ugadi - A New Year and a New Beginning

Ugadi - A New Year and a New Beginning - Kreate

Every day begins with a breath of fresh air and a spring in your step, as you embark on a journey of a thousand miles. So, what makes Ugadi special? Be it the noisy urban landscape of Bangalore or the slow-paced nuanced fields of rural Andhra Pradesh, Ugadi is a celebration of new beginnings and a new life indeed. Believed to be the day that Lord Brahma, the Hindu numen of life and Brahman, began the creation of the universe on this auspicious day. Observed on the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, Ugadi is a celebratory occasion for the people of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and is observed as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra.

Also known as Samvatsarādi, Ugadi is celebrated as a socio-cultural event by people across the spectrum. The word Ugadi comes from the words, Yuga - era or year, and adi meaning beginnings. With beautiful new dresses, splendid home decorations, oil massages, and amazing tasty snacks, Ugadi is a day for all. Special mango leaf decorations on doors, torans, tasty Bevu-Bella a concoction of neem and jaggery, and pachadi - a festive food combining the notable flavours of a traditional meal, are the staples of the festival. This year, Ugadi is celebrated on 22nd March and here are some common yet cool customs and traditions of this amazing festive occasion.

  • A toran is a traditional door decor hung on entrances to homes, inviting the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi inside the home. These torans are made from various materials, usually harvested leaves from mangoes and jackfruit trees. In more modern times, torans are made from a range of materials and are made with different art styles, depending on their region. Traditional art and handwoven fabrics are incorporated into this traditional artefact to elevate the traditional presence of the art to new levels.
  • Karnataka is a land of fragrant foods, juicy recipes and a rich heritage of significant people that shaped the future of the world. Celebrating the new year of this great land, the people start the year with a bit of Bevu-Bella. Bevu or Neem and Bella or Jaggery are mixed together to symbolise the emotions of the year that are to be both, bitter and sweet. This bittersweet experience starts off your year and is a way to move on to accepting both of them.

  • The region of Andhra Pradesh, famous for its amazing gastronomical supremacy, rich cultural heritage and famous culturally significant events, is the home of Ugadi Pachadi, a staple of the festive occasion. Made with six specific ingredients that relate to the flavours of life, this pachadi is a must for every Telugu household. The dish through its ingredients symbolises as follows:
    • Indicating happiness in life, jaggery is used as a sweetening agent in the dish.
    • The bitterness of neem represents sadness, an instrumental part of existence.
    • Unpleasantness of events is represented using tamarind.
    • A pungent or astringent flavour is derived from raw mangoes, symbolizing the surprises we experience.
    • Anger over several aspects of life, is expressed through the spice flavour of pepper.
    • A little bit of salt to represent the fears of oblivion in life.
  • Rangolis or Muggulu are colourful design patterns made using coloured flour, drawn on the front yards of the house, to symbolize auspicious forecomings into the house. These beautiful patterns with vibrant colours, often depict symmetric patterns with cultural imagery symbolizing the creative history of their customs.
  • A dish whipped out during the festive season of Ugadi is the much-adored staple of the region, holige. Called by many names, this gram flour roasted jaggery-based sweet dish is a tasty treat for the household during the season. With piping hot ghee or cold sweet coconut milk, the dish is served to all, family and friends, on the occasion of the new year.

As per the long carried traditions of this special day, Ugadi symbolizes new beginnings and the culmination of another year of a mixture of emotions. Its events, be it good or bad, are left behind, and a new year and life is started on this occasion. An early morning fresh bath followed by new traditional ethnic wear, shows that you have shed your past year aside and stepped into a new garb, ready to make memories and change your life in your own way. While the whole world follows the Gregorian calendar and celebrates New Year on 1st January, Ugadi is a symbolic season, moving on from the ones of our past to fresh ones of the future. The season of Spring, with a spring in its step, beckons you to a new life, to be a better version of yourself in the days to come.

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