Ugadi is the celebration of a new beginning

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The moment we think about festivals in India, we are treated to an imagery of myriad, blast of colors, sweets, music, family, friends, laughter and endless chatter. This is no different for Kannadigas, Telugus and Marathis, who are all set to welcome the New Year called Ugadi in Kannada, Telugu or Gudi padwa in Marathi, which literally means the beginning of the New Year.

For any person from these three states, the day begins with a traditional oil bath with all of them celebrating the advent of Ugadi almost in the same way. The women folk decorate the entrance to their house with mango leaves and draw colorful rangoli patterns and conduct pooja for health and prosperity. They distribute a mixture of ‘jaggery and neem’ leaves symbolizing that life always has a mixture of good and bad in it.

Unlike the Kannadigas and Maharashtrians, the Telugu Ugadi Pacchadi is a unique mixture with six elements of taste which symbolizes the fact that life is a mixture of different experiences.
There are many beliefs and customs about Ugadi. For example, it is said that starting a business or a new venture is good on Ugadi. It is also considered highly auspicious to look at the moon and take blessings from elders (How to Observe or Celebrate Ugadi).


It is also customary on Ugadi to make a resolution for the year to come (How to Observe or Celebrate Ugadi). It is more or less the same thing as the western New Year’s resolution. One more important custom on Ugadi is to eat the prepared special foods. If you do not eat the special foods, it means the rest of your year could be unlucky (Perl).


Ugadi marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar. It is a day when mantras are chanted and predictions made for the New Year. The most important thing in the festival is Panchanga Shravanam – hearing of the Panchanga.

The Panchanga Shravanam is done at the temples by the priests. Before reading out the annual forecasts as predicted in the Panchanga, the officiating priest reminds the participants of the creator – Brahma, and the span of creation of the universe.


Preparations for the festival begin a week ahead. Houses are given a thorough wash. Shopping for new clothes and buying other items that go with the requirements of the festival are done with a lot of excitement.

On Ugadi day, people wake up before the break of dawn and take a head bath. The bath is supposedly to be taken after massaging the entire body using sesame oil.
The next step is offer prayers to Sun, before accepting Vepapoota Pachadi (Neem Flower Pickle) on an empty stomach.


Entrance of the houses is decorated with fresh mango leaves. It is noteworthy that we use mango leaves and coconuts (as in a Kalasam, to initiate any pooja) only on auspicious occasions to propitiate gods. People also splash fresh cow dung water on the ground in front of their house and draw colorful floral designs. This is a common sight in every household. People perform the ritualistic worship to God invoking his blessings before they start off with the New Year.

The celebration of Ugadi is marked by religious zeal and social merriment. It is believed that the creator of the World, Lord Brahma started creation on this day – Chaitra suddha padhyami or the Ugadi day. era.

The day of Ugadi is the first time there is a new moon since the spring equinox. At the time of Ugadi, plants are just starting to grow and everything is beautiful. It puts a festive mood in the air. Ugadi is also the start of the hot season, which coincides with summer holidays for students Thus, many South Indians say Ugadi is their favorite festival of the year.

Prayers for health, wealth and prosperity and success in business are part of the festival. Ugadi is considered the most auspicious time to start new ventures.

Joy, enthusiasm and gaiety are seen spread across all around in the air and social gatherings become a part and parcel of the celebrations.

While Ugadi is celebrated in almost every village and town in the state, Mangalore is an exception. This New Year called – Chandramana Ugadi, is celebrated only by Gowd Saraswat Brahmins (GSB), carpenters (Goldsmiths) and those who have come from old Mysore region.
Tuluvas, Brahmins and Malayali people in this region celebrate the Souramana Ugadi known as Bisu for Malyalies.

Apart from GSB’s, the Hale Mysore Mangalore Vipra Koota, an association of Brahmins from Mysore settled in Mangalore, is one of the organizations that celebrate Chandramana Ugadi every year.

According to the report available members of this organization have been celebrating Ugadi together for the last 16 years. “There are around 130 families in Mangalore who belong to the Vipra Koota of Old Mysore.

The celebrations include reading of the Panchanga and the Ugadi message after which Bevu-Bella is shared greeting and wishing each others. They visit temple after which the Purohit visits home and reads the Panchanga. Before distributing “Bevu Bella”, he forecasts what the year ahead holds for them.

For lunch they will have tender cashew upkari, mango upkari, payasam, podi (fried snacks seasonal), along with the usual accompaniments.

Bisu Parba also called Visu marks the beginning of the year for followers of solar calendar (Sauramana Panchanga). In Tulu Nadu, Bisu is the occasion for the farmers to thank the mother Earth.

Gathering of harvest and worshipping is called ‘Bisu Kani’. This way of worshipping the mother Earth is also observed in temples of Tulu Nadu. Various religious rituals and special pooja will be held in temples on this auspicious occasion of Bisu Parba.

As per Tulunadu tradition, people share the sweets and savour payasam at lunch, in a way praying for peace and happiness for one more year.

The lunch that follows the Ugadi is sumptuous.

Wishing all the “Kannadigaworld” readers a very happy and prosperous Ugadi

Shekar Moily

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