The name Yugadi or Ugadi is derived from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and ādi (beginning): “the beginning of a new age”. Yugadi specifically refers to the start of the age we are living in now, the Kali Yuga. The Kali Yuga began when Lord Krishna left the world. Maharshi Vedavyasa describes this event with the words “Yesmin Krishno divamvyataha, Tasmat eeva pratipannam Kaliyugam“. Kali Yuga began on February 17 or 18, at midnight, in 3102 BCE
Ugadi is the Telegu New Year’s Day for the people of the Deccan region of India.
It is a public holiday in the following regions: Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh.
In Maharashtra it is known as Gudipadawa and may be called Gudi Padava in other parts of India..
The name Yugadi or Ugadi is derived from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and ādi (starting) – ‘the beginning of a new age’.
The legend behind this festival is that Lord Brahma created the universe on Ugadi.
The date of Ugadi is based on calculations of the position of the moon dating back to 12th century. Ugadi begins on the first new moon after the Spring Equinox. Ugadi is celebrated the next morning as an Indian day starts from sunrise.
This date usually falls in late march or early April in the western calendar and this date moon signifies a change in the seasons and essentially means Ugadi is a spring festival.
The nine day long spring festival of Vasanta Navratri (Chaitra Navratri) begins on this day and concludes on Ram Navami. It is believed that the creator of the Hindu pantheon Lord Brahma started creation on this day – ‘Chaitra Suddha Padhyami’ or the Ugadi day. The famed Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya’s astronomical calculations in the 12th century determined the date of Ugadi from the sunrise on as the beginning of the New Year, new month and new day.
Preparations for Ugadi begin a week in advance and include customs common to many spring festivals such as house cleaning and buying new clothes. On the day of Ugadi, a tradition is to get up before dawn for an Abhyang – a head bath an after massaging with sesame oil.
Ugadi heralds the arrival of Spring and warmer weather. As such it is a joyus festival signifying growth and properity and as with all New Year festivals it is a chance to put the errors of the past behind, make predictions and a good time to start new ventures.
A customary food prepared during Ugadi is Bevu Bella,
A paste made from jaggery (sugar), neem buds, tamarind juice and raw mango. The paste combines several sweet and sour tastes. These different tastes are intended to remind anyone tasting the paste that life is a mixture of happy and sad events.
In Karnataka a special dish called Obbattu or Holige, is prepared. It consists of a filling (gram and jaggery/sugar boiled and made in to a paste) stuffed in a flat roti-like bread. It is usually eaten hot or cold with ghee or milk topping or coconut milk at some places of Karnataka .In Andhra Pradesh, a special dish called Bobbattu (Polelu) (Puran Poli) (Oliga) are prepared on this occasion. This special dish is called Bhakshalu in Telangana.
Another dish which is prepared on occasion of Ugadi is Ugadi pachhadi .This dish is ceremonial, it is not common to have it otherwise.
Predictions for 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.