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The Kannada New Year: Ugadi

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Pic Source: allindiaroundup.com A woman making Rangoli
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By Aakash Sinha

India, the country of traditions and rituals has a unique place in the world. Its culture and diversity doesn’t have any replica on this Earth. New Year day is celebrated on 1st January all over the world. But, in India people also celebrate New Year day on the basis of the calendar ( Solar and Lunar) they follow. Ugadi, the New Year day for Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh is celebrated with full enthusiasm and traditions.

It is referred as Gudipadawa in Maharashtra.

Origin of Ugadi

The word “Ugadi” has originated from a Sanskrit word “Yugadi”. ‘Yug’ means ‘age’ and ‘adi’ means ‘beginning’, so it signifies “the beginning of the new age”. This festival comes every year in the month of March or April. The date is not fixed as it depends on the position of sun and moon (Indian calendar is based on position of sun and moon).

Religious belief associated with Ugadi

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Brahma started the creation of the universe on the same day of Ugadi or Chaitra suddha padhyami (first day of the bright half of the Indian month of Chaitra).

It is said that Lord Brahma created the days, weeks, month, year in order to count time and then created all other elements on the planet (air, water etc.).

Hindu mythology states that, “If we are happy on Ugadi we will remain happy whole year”. So, people try to be the happiest on this day.

Significance of Ugadi

  • Ugadi signifies the change in the lunar orbit as well as the beginning of new Hindu lunar calendar.The trees have new green leaves. New flowers are seen everywhere. The season of spring is accompanied with joy and pleasure of Ugadi.
  • “Vasanta Navratri” begins on this day and concludes on the ninth day with another auspicious day “Ramnavmi”.
  • Different Mantras are chanted and predictions are made for the coming year.Panchanga Shravanam – hearing of Panchanga (a Hindu calendar based on planetary motion) is done by the priests in temples.
  • It is believed that the benefits to the listener as well as the reader, are equivalent to having a dip in the holy river Ganges.

Preparations and Celebrations for Ugadi

The day starts with cleaning and the house doors are decorated with mango leaves and flowers. Oil-bath is a must for everybody. Rich or poor, all should wear new clothes. There is an interesting story behind the practice of decorating with mango leaves.

Subramanya and Ganesha, the sons of Lord Shiva and Parvati loved eating mangoes. Kartik asked people to bind leaves of mango tree to the doors in order to indicate a good yield.

After offering prayers to Sun, Vepapoota Pachadi (Neem Flower Pickle) is eaten on an empty stomach. It tastes sweet, hot as well as sour.  People perform the ritualistic worship to God invoking his blessings before they start off with the New Year.

Rituals and Traditions followed on Ugadi

This festival is has a lot of rituals to follow. According to the information available on a state website,some of the common rituals are:

  • Reflection in Ghee: Watching one’s reflection in a bowl of molten ghee.
  • Enne (Oil) Shastra: Elderly women of the family apply kumkum (sindoor) to the younger members and perform evening prayers.
  • Abhyang: Oil bath is taken by all family members. Also, the idols of God are bathed with oil.
  • New Dresses: Everyone should wear new clothes.
  • Offering flowers: Mango leaves and neem flowers are offered to God to make the day auspicious. Also, doors are decorated using these.
  • Worship: People worship God involving steps of Abhisheka, Alankara, Naivedya and Mangalarathi.
  • Panchanga Pooje: After worshipping God, Panchanga for the New Year is worshipped.
  • Bevu Bella: A seet, sour and bitter dish prepared on this day.
  • Oota: Offering meals to God and then eating it as Prasada or Oota.
  • Visiting temples: Visiting temples and seeking blessings of the Almighty.

 Food prepared on Ugadi

Bevu Bella is the main item prepared at every house on this day. It is a paste of jaggery, neem, tamarind juice and raw mango. The importance of this dish is that it denotes all tastes of life.

The sweet, sour and bitter taste of Bevu Bella reminds us that, “Life is a mixture of sadness and happiness”. We should face it in all forms.

Apart from Bevu-Bella, several south Indian dishes are prepared to mark this auspicious day.

A happier day means a happy year ahead. So goes the belief.

Aakash is pursuing B.E , Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Sir M. Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology, Bangalore.

Twitter:@aakashsinha1994

 

 

 

 

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  • sudheer naik

    This festival is not only celebrated in kanada but also in many other states across India.This day is considered as start of calender year.

Next Story

Triple Talaq: Are the concerns and efforts real?

It cannot be deied that BJP is outlawing triple talaq to gain political mileage both from sections of Muslim women and from those Hindus who will see it as Modi's distress over the sufferings of Muslim women and as a message to Muslims that the days when they were given excessive leeway by less assertive governments are now gone.

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Triple Talaq continues to plague lives of Muslim women, VOA News
Triple Talaq continues to plague lives of Muslim women, VOA News
  • Triple Talaq has been seen as way of BJP gaining popularity among Muslims, and not as a real concern for the distressed women of the community.
  • BJP leaders are often accused of Anti-Muslim statements, which further proves the point.
  • However, if the law is passed, it will be a step towards empowerment of the Muslim women.

Only the naive will believe that deep concern for the welfare of Muslim “sisters” and for the maintenance of the “dignity of women” and “gender equality” persuaded the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to introduce the bill in parliament to ban the practice of triple talaq.

For a party whose founder in its previous incarnation, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, thought that only a civil war can solve the Hindu-Muslim problem, as Tripura’s Governor, Tathagata Roy of the BJP, reminded us recently, and a BJP candidate in the Gujarat elections sought a reduction in the numbers of “topi and dadhiwalas” (sartorial allusion to Muslims), it strains credulity to believe that it has been guided solely by laudable motives to put an end to an admittedly reprehensible custom.

The belief will persist, therefore, that it is a desire to “garner votes” which is behind the decision, notwithstanding Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad’s disavowal of such an intention.

Few will deny, of course, that the practice itself is highly condemnable, not least because it is illegal even in Islamic countries. For a secular country, therefore, to allow it to prevail will point to a flawed outlook whose roots lie deep in the political calculations.

It cannot be gainsaid that the BJP is outlawing triple talaq to gain political mileage both from sections of Muslim women and from those Hindus who will see the proposed law, first, as an example of “brother” Modi’s distress over the sufferings of Muslim women and, secondly, as a message to Muslims in general that the days are gone when they were given excessive leeway by less assertive governments.

The “secular” rulers of the past, on the other hand, also thought that they will gain votes by pandering to the predilections of the obscurantists among the minorities.

The worst example of this regressive attitude was the Shah Bano episode, when the Rajiv Gandhi government negated a Supreme Court verdict in favour of alimony for a divorced Muslim woman on the advice of Muslim fundamentalists.

Shayara Bano case was one of the biggest milestone cases in history of India which intensified the previously buried matter. Wikipedia Common
Shayara Bano case was one of the biggest milestone cases in history of India which intensified the previously buried matter. Wikipedia Common

The BJP’s rise from the sidelines of politics to the mainstream, can be traced through that event in the mid-1980s. The Congress will have to tread carefully in deciding on its stance on the bill which has followed the Supreme Court’s recent declaration of triple talaq as unconstitutional in a case involving the litigant, Shayara Bano.

The difficulty for the Congress is that it has given secularism a bad name by making the concept virtually synonymous with minority appeasement. While the BJP will not mind being closely associated with Hinduism, the Congress has been trying to shed the impression that it has become “mussalmanon ki party” or a party of Muslims, as the Congress leader, Ashok Gehlot, has said, ever since the 2014 defeat made him aware of this unwelcome image, as the A.K. Antony report pointed out.

The triple talaq bill gives it an opportunity to refurbish its reputation by articulating a rational position on drafting the law, aiming at protecting Muslim women from cruel and whimsical divorces and at the same time ensuring that the legislation does not lead to a police witch-hunt targeting men. Since the bill has to still pass through the Rajya Sabha, Parliament’s upper house, there is ample scope for fine-tuning it for smoothing out the rough edges, the most egregious of which is to introduce an element of criminality in a civil legal procedure.

If the Congress and other “secular” parties play a leading role in ensuring that the new law will unequivocally serve the ends of justice where no one — neither the women, nor the men, nor the children of divorced parents — will suffer, then these parties will be able to retrieve much of their lost reputation about cynical kowtowing to bigots in the Muslim community and reassure the country in general that politics can rise above partisan and opportunistic considerations.

From this standpoint, the bill provides a golden opportunity to the secular outfits even if the BJP runs away with much of the credit for introducing it.

Outside of politics, what is noteworthy is the failure of the Muslims to deal with the problem on their own. But ever since partition robbed the community of bold, educated leaders and self-confidence by inducing the minority complex of being forever under siege under the numerically superior Hindus — unlike other minorities like Sikhs and Parsis who have retained their poise and self-belief — the Muslims have come under the retrogressive influence of the mullahs with the result that they have remained stuck in the past.

Not all Muslim have the freedom to do whatever they want. They are still in the clutches of Triple Talaq.
Not all Muslim have the freedom to do whatever they want. They are still in the clutches of Triple Talaq.

Triple talaq is one manifestation of such backwardness along with polygamy and the veiling of women as they reinforce the age-old patriarchal norms. Only a small section of upper middle class women — film stars and sports personnel being prominent among them — has been able to extricate themselves from the grasp of medievalism and enter the modern world. But the majority of the poor and lower middle class women have been denied the opportunity of advancement by orthodox Muslim society. The new law offers them a ray of hope. IANS Live