Celebrated In: India
The festival of Ugadi heralds the beginning Kannada New Year and is celebrated all over Karnataka with traditional fervor. The word 'Ugadi' is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Yugadi', which means 'beginning of a new Yuga or era'. The festival usually falls on the second half of March or early April.
Ugadi also marks the advent of the spring season when Mother Nature blooms with all her glory. Blossoming flowers and expansive tracts of green paddy fields dot the landscape filling the hearts of people with joy and contentment. Preparations usually start a week ahead with people cleaning their houses and shopping for new clothes.
On Ugadi day, after a pre-dawn bath people decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves. The green mango leaves tied to the doorway signify a good crop and general well being. Another unique feature of the festival is the "Ugadi Pachchadi" delicacy made from Neem flowers, mango juice, honey, sugar (jaggery) and other ingredients.
Ugadi, also known as Yugadi, is a Hindu festival celebrated by the people of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh with much vigor. Yug means new era and Adi means beginning; together it means beginning of a new era. In other words, it also means the beginning of a new astronomical cycle.
The festival falls in the spring season and marks the first day of the New Year, which is the first day of Chaitra (March or April), the first month of the traditional Hindu calendar. But since the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar, Ugadi falls on different dates every year and is also one of the most important festivals of the Hindus. Legend has it that it was on this day that the Creator of Hindu Pantheon, Lord Brahma, began his auspicious creation and created the Earth, and set days, nights, dates, weeks, fortnights, months, seasons and years to count the time.
Preparation for Ugadi begins a day or two before the actual date with people washing and cleaning their houses; buying new clothes is also one of the many traditions. On the day of Ugadi, people, especially of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, take an extensive ritualistic shower or oil bath followed by partaking in prayers for good health and prosperity in the coming year.
Then as the day moves on, people decorate their houses with mango leaves and rangolis, and Ugadi Pachhadi (Telegu) or Bevu Bella (Kannada), a unique dish of a specific mixture with six different tastes is also prepared. The dish symbolizes different experiences ranging from sweet to bitter and that everyone should learn from these experiences and continue with life's journey. Later in the day, the event of Panchanga Sravanam is organized in many temples and cultural and religious gatherings are held, whereby predictions for the coming year are made.