Ugadi is the New Year’s Day for the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana in India. It is festively observed in these regions on the first day of the Hindu calendar month of Chaitra. The day is celebrated by drawing colorful patterns on the floor, Rangoli (Muggul), mango leaf decorations on doors called Torana, giving gifts such as new clothes, giving charity to the poor, special bath followed by oil treatment, sharing and preparing a special food called pachadi, and visiting Hindu temples.
The name Yugadi or Ugadi is derived from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and ādi (beginning): “the beginning of a new age.”
Yugadi or Ugadi falls on “Chaitra Shudhdha Paadyami” or the first day of the bright half of the Indian month of Chaitra. This generally falls in late March or early April of the Gregorian calendar.
According to Hindu History, Brahma, the creator, began creating the earth on this auspicious day. Yugadi is one of the several names of Vishnu. Bhagwan Vishnu is labeled as Yugaadikrit, the one who is the creator. Ugadi is also believed to be the onset of Kaliyuga. The beautiful blossoms symbolize growth and thus Jasmine, which flowers during this time of the year is offered to Gods in the form of garlands.
The day starts early with ritual showers, followed by prayers. Preparations for the celebration start a week ahead. Homes are given a thorough clean. People buy new clothes and Dhoti and purchase new items for the festival and decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves.
Mango leaves and coconuts are deemed auspicious in the Hindu tradition, and they are used on Yugadi.
Lovely dishes are prepared for the occasion.
Special meal is cooked with ingredients like:
- Salt: showing interest in life
- Jaggery (sweet): symbolizing happiness
- Tamarind (sour): symbolizing challenges
- Raw mango (tangy): indicating challenges and surprises
- Neem flowers (bitter): shows struggles in life
- Chilli powder (spicy): symbolizing anger.
The meal prepared signifies human emotions.
In Andhra Pradesh eatables such as “pulihora, bobbatlu (Bhakshalu/ polelu/ oligale), New Year Burelu and Pachadi” and preparations made with raw mango go well with the occasion. Of these, pachadi (or Ugadi pacchadi) is the most notable, and consists of a chutney-like dish which combines ingredients to give all six flavors of food (షడ్రుచులు – ṣaḍruculu) : sweet (తీపి – tīpi), sour (పులుపు – pulupu), salty (ఉప్పు – uppu), pungent (కారం – kāraṁ), bitter (చేదు – cēdu) and astringent (వగరు – vagaru).