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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

In Pakistan, Hindus don’t get even a ‘Crematorium:’ Will you believe that?

There are a lot of Hindu family residing all over Pakistan and still, there are very few cremation grounds where their last rites can be performed in that area

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Not having a crematorium in Peshawar is just one of the woes that the minority communities are facing since long. Wikimedia Commons
Not having a crematorium in Peshawar is just one of the woes that the minority communities are facing since long. Wikimedia Commons
  • Due to the lack of cremation grounds, some Hindus and Sikhs travel hundreds of kilometres just to perform the last rites as per their religious practices
  • As per reports, there were about 12 cremation grounds before Independence
  • Unfortunately, Hindu’s and Sikh’s have to face the same problem in the neighbouring state as well, that is Afghanistan

Death is said to be a great leveller. But the tragedy struck to some section of society in Muslim-dominated Pakistan is altogether different.

Due to the lack of cremation grounds, some Hindus and Sikhs travel hundreds of kilometres just to perform the last rites as per their religious practices. People who can’t even afford to travel, they have no option but to bury the mortal remains of their near and dear ones.

As per reports, there were about 12 cremation grounds before Independence. But with the passage of time, they vanished in the thin air of the terror-torn nation. Even in areas lying in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where about 35,000 Hindus and Sikhs live, the cremation grounds are also rare.

Also Read: Today’s Social Issues and their Answers to Children

The law of the land is non-existent for the minorities communities like Hindu’s and Sikh’s. Without taking no-objection certificate, people from these communities can’t move an inch even. The grief-stricken families have to wait for the clearances, as they are left with no other option.

People are forced to travel long distances to cremate their relatives from the areas like Swat Bannu, Kohat, Malakand etc. The cost to travel such long distances ranges from Rs 40,000 to Rs 70,000 and on the top of it, the fear of robbery during these travels cannot be ruled out. Not all the Hindu families can afford to perform the last rites in the manner they want.

Unfortunately, Hindu’s and Sikh’s have to face the same problem in the neighbouring state as well, that is Afghanistan. The minority communities are compelled to bury the dead because cremation grounds are vanishing fast in Pakistan.

Although, Pakistan boats that the minority communities enjoy equal rights in their country, the ground reality seems to be completely different. Wikimedia Commons
Although, Pakistan boats that the minority communities enjoy equal rights in their country, the ground reality seems to be completely different. Wikimedia Commons

Although, the administration of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has allowed the minorities communities to perform cremation near temples. But most of the temples are built on the agricultural lands and commercial areas, which have already been encroached upon by land mafia.

There are a lot of Hindu family residing in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and still, there are very few cremation grounds where their last rites can be performed in that area.

Although, Pakistan boats that the minority communities enjoy equal rights in their country, the ground reality seems to be completely different. Not having a crematorium in Peshawar is just one of the woes that the minority communities are facing since long.


After much of the protests, finally, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has started building the facility from the chief minister’s fund, as per some government sources.

There are almost 50,000 Sikhs and Hindus in Peshawar. And unfortunately, due to lack of proper facilities, people over there are also facing the same situation what others are facing in areas like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Also Read: 7 new-age social issues in India that need a check

To expect some kind of generosity from the war-torn state like Pakistan is out of the way. Instead of spending extravagantly on the military expansion, Pakistan should come forward and full-fill the basic amenities for the citizen of its country. It’s the people who make the country and not the other way round.