Ugadi: Regional New Year in Karnataka

India is a land of various cultures. It has an innumerable number of people following different religions and traditions. Hence the ways of celebrating a new year day are also diversified from region to region starting from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. The New Year’s day for the Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states of India is observed as Ugadi. This is a traditional festival that is celebrated with dignity and cultural events. It is recognized as the first day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar especially in the month of Chaitra.

The word ”Ugadi” is derived from two different words, “Yuga” which means age in Sanskrit and “Adi” that means beginning in Sanskrit and Kannada. This day is also known as Chandramana Ugadi which means the beginning of the New Year that usually falls in the month of March or April (as per the Gregorian calendar).

How is it celebrated?

Ugadi is celebrated with fervor and it is also regarded as the herald of the harvest season. Before the month of Chaitra begins, everyone cleans and whitewashes their houses, also clean and decorate the temples and as well as the idols in their houses with mango leaves and jasmine flowers.

The celebration starts when the entire household wakes up before sunrise and take bath after massaging their whole body with sesame oil and wear new traditional clothes. They also bath the god and goddess idols of their home with oil and then offer prayers with neem flowers, mango, and tamarind. The senior women of the respective family then apply oil and vermilion to the forehead of the junior members of the family praying for their wellbeing. The families worship the Panchanga or the new Hindu almanac that is read for the first time. It is believed that the ones who read and listen to the Panchanga are blessed with special blessings. The priest who is reading the Panchanga is to be gifted new clothes to show gratitude.

Practices

People draw colorful designs on the floor which is commonly called as Rangoli and also put mango leaves on the doors. On this day people wear new clothes, shares gifts with each other, does charity by helping the poor, take a special bath followed by an oil treatment. They prepare special food called ‘Pachadi’ and also visit the Hindu temples. Pachadi is a special type of food preparation which is a mixture of various flavors; sweet, salty, bitter and sour. It is believed in the Kannada and Telegu Hindu culture one should experience all the flavors and enjoy the most of it in the new year.

Ugadi is a historical and cultural festival which carries the practice of charity and donations to the Hindu temples. It is recognized as the new year in many states in the Hindu religion. For example, Ugadi is celebrated as Gudi Padwa in the state of Maharashtra.

Style and Variety

For the new year festival Ugadi, the men, and women of Karnataka buy new clothing and new ornaments for themselves and their family. Everyone dresses in the traditional attires. Men wear an off-white or white linen shirt paired with a cotton lungi or long loincloth that is embellished with golden zari all round. When men visit the temples they don the Angavastram, which is a rectangular cloth of a similar color and the golden zari. Recently, men prefer to wear casual white shirts pairing with trousers. Both of these attires are completed with a gold chain around the neck and a gold watch on the wrist.

Women wear opulent clothes during this day such as brocade sarees like Bangalore silk or Kanjivaram which are rich in color with thick and broad golden zari work in the borders. Along with that, they wear pieces of jewelry. Jewelry consists of pure gold necklaces, gold earrings, and bangles that are of traditional designs. They also love to accessorize their hair with strands of white jasmine flower garlands. Even the young girls in the community dress up in elaborate silk lehenga cholis. They prefer wearing pearl necklaces, pearl or gold earrings, and maang tikkas. They also love decorating their hair with strands of jasmine flower garlands. Whereas a more contemporary style the women and younger girls deck up is in white cotton sarees with golden borders or colorful threadwork. They also wear contemporary jewelry along with the said attire in terms of light costume jewelry sets.

The dressing and attires may be different for different religions but the essence of culture, tradition, prayers, belief in the Almighty remains similar when it comes to mankind as a whole. The new beginning of every great event is always celebrated with grandeur and immense joy and we all love welcoming anything new with overwhelming hearts. So leaving behind all discriminations let all of us rejoice the beginning of a new year.

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