Nature worship has been a part of our religious customs and cultures from centuries and has been given the utmost importance in every celebration. We celebrate many festivals representing our culture, religious customs and traditions in various occasions. The essence of celebrating any festival stands the same, but with a diversified form and activities. Every festival has its own significance; preaching humanity, kindness, peace and eternal happiness. There are many festivals celebrated in different parts of the world signifying the role and importance of Nature for a healthy, prosperous, and peaceful progress of human life.
Ugadi (Yugadi or Samvatsaradi) is a regional Hindu festival celebrated in south Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka and in Maharashtra it is celebrated as ‘Gudi Padwa’. It is celebrated on the first day of the lunisolar or lunar calendar year depending on the positions of the moon and the sun. The term ‘Ugadi’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yugadhi’, means “the beginning of the age”.
In general, the festival falls in the month of late March or early month of April, the day is called as “Chaitra Shudhdha Paadyami” (Telugu month of ‘Chaitra’ or ‘Chaitram’). As per the Indian Puranas, Lord Vishnu incarnated in his first Avatar of Dasavatharam (10 Incarnations) as Matsavataram (Fish incarnation) to retrieve the stolen Vedas from a Rakshas/Asura (Demon) known as Somakasura, and handed over to Lord Brahma to start creating the world; on this auspicious day Lord Brahma started creating the world and hence called as Yugadi or Ugadi. People strongly believe Ugadi as an auspicious day to start new ventures or make decisions for assured success.
The celebration of Ugadi is more than an occasion; it preaches the significance and meaning of human life. There is a tradition of preparing a special dish called “Ugadi Pachadi” in Andhrapradesh & Telangana and “Bevu Bella” in Karnataka, a mixture consisting 6 uniquely tasting fresh seasonal ingredients symbolizing various feelings and emotions in human life. They are sweetness of Jaggery for Happiness, bitterness of Neem flower for sadness, pungency of Chilli for anger, saltiness of Salt for fear, sourness of Tamarind for disgust and tanginess of Mango for surprise. It teaches to embrace all the emotions and feelings besides being happy that every human being comes across in one’s life.
Also, there are many other traditional feasts offered as a part of cuisine culture of Ugadi festival, sometimes with different names of the same recipes, namely, Pulihora, Puligura, Polelu, Bakshalu, Bobbatlu, Holige and Purnam Pole to name but a few.
To understand the meaning of being happy, one should be strong enough to embrace all other human emotions and feelings- HAPPY UGADI!!