Significance of Ugadi
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have their own way of welcoming the new year. The celebration of the advent of a new year starts with much grandeur and preparation. The people mark this occasion in the form of the much-revered festival - Ugadi. The name Ugadi traces its origin from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and adi (beginning) or, "the beginning of a new age". The people of Karnataka celebrate this festival as Yugadi. Being one of the major festivals of the region, observation of a lot of customs is upheld.
Ugadi celebration starts on the first day of Chaitra of the Hindu lunisolar calendar. This falls around the months of March-April. Yet, the preparations start from a week earlier. Drawing colourful patterns on the floor is the highlight of this festival. These patterns, known as kolamulus combined with door decorations, torana completes the decorations.
Extended members of the family gather together over the preceding week. Houses are cleaned with care. Auspicious mango leaves and coconuts are used at every opportunity. The day starts with early rituals, rubbing the body with perfumed oil, followed by prayers. People dress up in new clothes and dhotis. Delicious dishes like pachadi, new clothes and visits to the temples bring in the feeling of the day. Extensive charitable work is also done. Giving alms to the poor makes the new year a little warmer for them, too. Religious zeal and social merriment mark the celebration of Ugadi.
One of the most significant practices of Ugadi is the exchanging of gifts. This brings a platter of joy to the table which people welcome with open arms. Gifts make everything better irrespective of the occasion. The exchange of gifts makes the celebration memorable and is much anticipated. For the joyous occasion of Ugadi, people gift each other clothes as per the traditions.
The advent of a new year marks the beginning of a new phase in the life of a person. It marks a time to leave behind the disappointments, failures and the things left undone in the previous year and look forward to the new one with hope. The traditions which are there prepare a person to enter the next year with optimism. The festivities not only rejuvenates the body but also heals the soul. With uplifted spirits, a person is always inspired and is able to take on the new challenges that lie ahead.
India is a land of various cultures and communities. This brings in a unique blend of various festivals that are not seen anywhere else around the world. All these festivals make their importance felt as each of them is an integral part of the community. Among the most celebrated festivals in India, the new year takes an upper rung. Various Indian communities have their own traditions for their new year. This is due to the fact that people follow different calendars in different regions of India. With the advent of Ugadi, arrives spring. Like the new leaves, new buds, fresh breeze and bright sunlight, Ugadi also symbolizes the birth of a new era.