Significance of Ugadi Celebrations•
Posted on March 31 2022
Ugadi is celebrated to herald the arrival of the New Year and the onset of the spring season. This celebration typically takes place in the South Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The festival usually occurs in March or April. The term Ugadi is derived from two Sanskrit words Yug and Adi meaning period or age and beginning respectively. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Brahma began creating the universe on this day. The festival is celebrated to welcome happiness, prosperity and abundance in the new year. As part of Ugadi decorations, the entrance of the house is decorated with red earth and a string of mango and neem leaves is hung on the front door.
Apart from the traditional cleaning the house, oil bath, wearing new clothes routine and pooja, people read the Panchanga on this day. At home, this is read by the eldest member of the family while priests read it in temples. Another highlight is the preparation of the Ugadi Pachadi or Bevu Bella. Bevu refers to bitter and Bella means sweet. This dish is made from neem flowers, chilly powder, tamarind, salt, unripe mango and jaggery. This makes it bitter, spicy, sour, salty, tangy and sweet at the same time. It is said to represent the six flavours of life comprising difficulties, anger, challenges, interest, surprises and happiness. The Ugadi Pachadi is the first dish consumed on this day.
Read on to know the different significances of celebrating the spring festival.
The festival is celebrated to acknowledge the work of Lord Brahma, the creator as He began the creation of the universe on this day. Lord Vishnu is also known by the name Yugaadikrit that means the creator of ages or the Yugas. So, He is also worshipped on this day.
There is also a popular belied that Lord Rama was crowned the king of Ayodhya on this day after His return to the kingdom following a 14-year exile full of trials and tribulations in the forest. Ugadi is also said to mark the day that Lord Vishnu ended his incarnation as Lord Krishna on earth.
Significance in Nature
Among the four major seasons, Ugadi marks the arrival of the spring season. Mother Nature is believed to wake up from a long slumber and spread a blanket of greenery over the earth giving it a new look. She is said to give birth to new plants, shoots and leaves. The Vasanta Navratri spring celebrations start on Ugadi and extend over a period of nine days. The celebrations come to an end just before Ram Navami.
According to the lunisolar calendar, a new astronomical gets started on Ugadi day and the earth begins to get recharged for yet another start with the help of the energy generated from the sun. In other words, Ugadi is the first day of the energising period of the sun. Starting from Ugadi, the earth is tilted at an angle such that its northern hemisphere is benefitted from sunlight to the maximum extent for a duration of 21 days.
Ugadi unravels a fresh beginning and the start of a new phase in the life of a person. The celebration focuses on leaving behind one’s past and stepping towards the future with a positive mindset and fresh expectations. This is compared to the new leaves that grown on plants and trees after the old leaves shed during autumn. Therefore, it does not mark just the beginning of a new year alone. This day is also considered to be ideal for undertaking new ventures.
There are different practices followed in various parts of the states. These traditions and practices differ from region to region within the same state.
In Chitradurga and Tumakuru, people watch the moon in its waxing stage in the evening. The area for the harvest for the upcoming year is based on the side of the moon. They believe that the direction of the moon’s upper end will yield a good harvest while the direction of the other end will have only an average harvest. In Kanakpura, the upper and lower ends of the moon are referred to as golden and rice horns.
In North Karnataka, farmers step out to their fields and plough their lands on this day. This practice is referred to as gale hodeyuvudu. On the other hand, natives of South Karnataka celebrate Ugadi over a period of three days. On the first day, they clean the house thoroughly. This process is called musure habba. The next day known as sihi aduge is dedicated to preparing and distributing the bevu bella as well as preparing other special dishes. The final day is referred to as hosataduku and non-vegetarian food is prepared and consumed on this day. In villages, people go hunting as teams on this day.
In Shettikere village, people observe yet another unique tradition. In the evening, villagers put grains of the different crops grown in their fields in a mud pot. This pot is then knocked by a plough that is tied to cattle. The grain that lands at the maximum distance from the pot is considered to be a fortune crop and is said to bring good fortune in the forthcoming year.
The germination test is another interesting Ugadi tradition observed by villagers. They fill a bamboo basket with cow dung and soil and sow nine different types of crops. This bamboo basket with the cow dung, soil and seeds is called jagara. This process is ideally carried out ahead of Ugadi. On Ugadi day, farmers bring their jagaras to a common place for inspection by elders of the village. After examining the quantity and quality of each sprout, a decision is made on which crop is ideal for the next harvest and that crop is raised accordingly.
Irrespective of the different significances and traditions followed, Ugadi is celebrated in the three southern states with full zeal and enthusiasm by both elders and youngsters. The preparations for the celebrations begin a few days ahead of the actual festival.
Written by Deepthi K