Today we are celebrating Ugadi, the Telugu New Year Day, which is the first festival of our Telugu calendar . Also celebrated by people between Vindhyas and Kaveri river that follow the South Indian lunar calendar, known as Yugadi in Karnataka, Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra etc. It marks the beginning of a new year where nature is in full bloom, symbolising regeneration and season's freshness.
To bring this to you all, I tried to dig myself into the age old knowledge behind this festival and I could come only this far ( thanks to Wikipedia). Ugadi starts on the first new moon after Sun crosses equator from south to north on Spring Equinox, falling on the "Chaitra Shudhdha Paadyami" or the first day of the bright half of the Indian month of Chaitra . The naming follows a cycle of 60 calendar year names, called Samvatsaras. The cycle repeats itself every 60 years.
As a child I was very very excited about the festival - the usual funfare starting with the rangoli’s, oil bath, new clothes, the doorways adorned with fresh mango leaves, the must eat Ugadi pachadi (which you will get to taste in a little while).
Ugadi pacchadi (chutney or sauce) symbolizes the fact that life is a mixture of different experiences ( sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise), which should be accepted together and with equanimity through the New Year - and is the first thing we eat at the dawn of the New Year - a beautiful symbolic gesture I think. What do u say?
This Pacchadi is made with Shadruchulu (6 tastes)
- Neem Buds/Flowers for its bitterness, signifying Sadness
- Jaggery and ripe banana pieces for sweetness, signifying Happiness
- Green Chilli/Pepper for its hot taste, signifying Anger
- Salt for saltiness, signifying Fear
- Tamarind Juice for its sourness, signifying Disgust
- Raw Mango for its tang, signifying Surprise
and the bobbatlu and other savouries. Ohhhhhhhhhh my mouth is watering already :-) and I miss it all here :-(.
It used to be a tradition where people later gathered to listen to the recitation of the religious Panchangam (almanac) of the new year, and the general forecast of the year to come. This is called the 'Panchanga Sravanam', an informal social function where an elderly and respected person or priest refers to the new almanac and makes a general benediction to all present. Nowadays, thanks to the TV - people turn on the TV to watch broadcasts of the "Panchanga Sravanam" recitation.
I wish you all a wonderful wonderful year ahead.