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Home > Discover Hyderabad > City Lifestyle > Festivals > Heralding a new life

   
  HERALDING A NEW LIFE   

Ugadi 'Pachhadi''Ugadi'
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 day.

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 well-being.

Start of the mango seasonPreparations 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 room.

Preparing 'Thoranams'The 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!

Basic ingredient of 'Pachhadi'Kavi 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.

Yet 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.
- -Shobhanadri Rao

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