A NEW LIFE
falls on the first day of the month of Chaitra
(March-April) according to Chandramana. Those
who live north of the Vindhyas hills observe Barhaspatyamana.
Those living south of the Vindhya hills observe Sauramana
or Chandramana. This is a day of rejoicing.
This marks the beginning of the New Year for the people
of Andhra Pradesh and also the Telugu people
all over the world. It is believed that the creator of
the Hindu pantheon Lord Brahma started creation
on this day - Chaitra suddha padhyami or the Ugadi
day. Also the great Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya's
calculations proclaimed the Ugadi day from the sunrise
on as the beginning of the New Year, new month and new
The onset of spring also marks a beginning of new life
with plants (barren until now) acquiring new life, shoots
and leaves. Spring is considered the first season of the
year hence also heralding a new year and a new beginning.
The vibrancy of life and verdent fields, meadows full
of colorful blossoms signifies growth, prosperity and
for the festival begin a week ahead. Houses are given
a thorough wash. Shopping for new clothes and buying other
items that go with the requirements of the festival are
done with a lot of excitement. On Ugadi day, people wake
up before the break of dawn and take a head bath after
which they decorate the entrance of their houses with
mango leaves and draw colorful floral designs called muggulu.
Then, they perform the ritualistic worship to pray for
good health and prosperity in the coming year. On this
day, people chant mantras and the pandits make predictions
for the coming year. According to an ancient tradition,
people used to flock to the temples to listen to the yearly
calender (panchangasravanam). 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
celebration of Ugadi is marked by religious zeal and social
merriment. Special dishes are prepared for the occasion.
In Andhra Pradesh, eatables such as "pulihora",
"bobbatlu" and preparations made with raw mango
go well with the occasion. "Ugadi Pachchadi"
is the dish primarily associated with the festival. This
dish is prepared with jaggery, raw mangoes, neem flowers
and raw tamarind. Ugadi pachchadi has become synonymous
with Ugadi. It is made of new jaggery, raw mango pieces
and neem flowers and new tamarind, which truly reflect
life - a combination of sweet, sour and bitter tastes!
Sammelanam (poetry recitation) is another typical
Telugu Ugadi feature. It is a custom to hold Kavi Sammelans
on this day. Many poets come up with new poems written
on subjects ranging - from Ugadi - to politics to modern
trends and lifestyles. Ugadi Kavi Sammelanam is also a
launch pad for new and budding poets.
another feature typical of this season is pickles. With
the raw mango available in abundance only during the two
months (April/May), people in Andhra Pradesh make good
use of mangoes to last them until the next season. They
pickle the mangoes with salt, powdered mustard and powdered
dry red chilli and a lot of oil to float over the mangoes.
This preparation is called "avakai" and
lasts for a whole year. The Ugadi day is also considered
to be an auspicious time to begin any new ventures. On
the whole the air is filled with joy, enthusiasm and gaiety.
It is a time of plenty, happiness, merry making and devotion.