Ugadi Celebrations in Andhra Pradesh
Each region in India has its special way of celebrating its distinctive festivals. Ugadi is the new year celebration festival which the people of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana observe with a lot of reverence. This annual festival is a time to be together with family and loved ones. The main aspect of Ugadi is to welcome the new year with hope and optimism.
The advent of a new year
With the onset of spring, the air of a new year coming in starts to blow. People start coming back to their homes, their roots a week or two from the day of Ugadi. People hold the values of celebrating the festival with one’s family in the highest regards. The festival marks the beginning of the Hindu lunisolar calendar. Celebration of Ugadi takes place in the Chaitra month (March-April). The colours of Holi are still fresh, and the colourful occasion of Ugadi renews it within no time.
Gearing up for the festivities
The day starts with religious prayers. People wake up before the breaking of dawn to take a head bath, applying oil on their body. After having a bath, they engage in a house decorating activity. People consider mango leaves to be auspicious. Thus they use them as a major component in the decorating items. According to a legend, Lord Ganesh, the God of Prosperity is fond of mango leaves. Thus using His favourite is an attempt to please Him.
People wash their homes head into the day wearing fresh new clothes. The attire of choice is traditional and includes dhoti. Rangolis are also drawn by women which are an important part of the traditional culture. It is also considered an auspicious mark of festivity. People hang torans made from mango leaves on doorways and windows.
Mythology and morals
An age-old myth of Hinduism has an association with Ugadi. The legend says that Lord Brahma, the Supreme Creator, created the universe on this day. This marked the beginning of a new era or, in the native language, Ugadi. Another legend tells the story of Lord Ram. The legend states that Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya after his 14 years of exile on this day. He defeated evil and ushered in a prosperous era in India. The celebrations of Ugadi carries the same notion in the sentiments.
Culinary delights and symbolism
One of the best parts of Ugadi is the tasty and delicious dishes that people cook during this festival. The people believe in six tastes - sweet, sour, spicy or pungent, salty, astringent and bitter. The tastes are symbolic of happiness, disgust, anger, fear, surprise, and sadness. Jaggery, raw mango, tamarind, neem flowers, salt and green chilli complement these Indian flavours. Atukulu Payasam, Boorelu, Semiya Payasam, etc. are some of the most popular Ugadi festival dishes. These are unique to the culinary culture of the Telugu people.
People make a special chutney called Ugadi Pachadi during the Ugadi festival. They keep it in an earthen pot before the idol of the house. After the puja, everyone takes the share of the chutney and go for feasts and meals together.