Ugadi is the New Year (Lunar New Year) for Telugu and Kannada speaking people and it ushers in the spring season. In 2014, the date of Ugadi is March 31. Jaya Nama Samvatsara begins on March 31, 2013. Ugadi (yuga and adi) means beginning of an astronomical cycle. It is also the first day of Chaitra, the first month of the traditional Hindu calendar followed in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Ugadi is also known as Chadramana Ugadi or Chandramana Varsha Thodaku or Vatsara Arambha.
For the Telugu and Kannada speaking people, Ugadi day begins with an extensive oil bath. Rangolis or Kolams are drawn in front of homes and doors and windows are decorated with a 'thorana' - mango leaves strung together. Then, it is time for the preparation of the famous ‘Ugadi Pachadi’ in Andhra Pradesh. In Karnataka, it is the ‘Bevu Bella.’
A major event on the day is “Panchanga Sravanam” – predictions for the year. It is organized at temples and by cultural and social organizations.
Ugadi Pachadi which is distributed on the day is a unique dish with a mixture of six tastes ranging from sweet to bitter. It comprises of jaggery, raw mango, tamarind, neem flowers, salt and green chilli. This is the first dish that people have on Ugadi day.
Ugadi Pachadi has an important symbolic meaning that life brings different experiences ranging from sweet to bitter. Therefore each individual should learn to take the different experiences in one's stride and move ahead.
Instead of the Ugadi Pachadi, in some places people serve jaggery mixed with neem leaves. The bitter taste of neem leaves and the sweet of jaggery symbolize joy and sorrow in life. This is more popular with Kannadigas.
Maharashtrians celebrate Gudhi Padwa on the day.
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